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Coniglio dei Nebrodi in Agrodolce (Sweet-and-sour Nebrodi rabbit)

12 April 2013
Coniglio dei Nebrodi in Agrodolce (Sweet-and-sour Nebrodi rabbit)

Ingredients
(Serves four to six)
300ml/1/2pint red wine vinegar

3tbs olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1tbs tomato purée
250g/9oz (2 cups) giardiniera, chopped
4-5 apples, peeled, cored, sliced and blanched in acidulated water
3tbs sugar
50g/2oz (1/2 cup) shelled hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
Wild fennel, to garnish
Salt

Method
Stir 200ml/7fl oz (scant 1 cup) of the vinegar into a bowl of water. Add the pieces of rabbit and let them soak for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or skillet, add the pieces of rabbit and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, until evenly browned. Remove the pan from the heat.

Pour water into a small frying pan or skillet to a depth of 1.5cm/3/4in, add a pinch of salt and set over medium-low heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for about 15 minutes, until the onions have become translucent.

Mix the tomato purée with 200ml/7fl oz (scant 1 cup) hot water. Transfer the pieces of rabbit to a large pan, add the tomato purée mixture and the onion and celery mixture, cover and simmer 
for 45 minutes. Stir in the giardiniera and the apples, re-cover the pan and simmer for another 45 
minutes.

Heat the remaining vinegar in a small pan, then remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and add to the pan of rabbit. Season to taste with salt and remove the pan from the heat.

Transfer the stew to a serving dish and let cool, then sprinkle with the hazelnuts and garnish with the wild fennel.

Recipe taken from book Sicily - Silver Spoon Collective

Recommended wine In this dish there is a fine balance between sweetness, acidity, roasted and nutty flavours. The wine must be equally balanced with these key factors, and cannot be too full bodied to avoid to being overpowering.

The wine I'm suggesting is 2008 ChÁ¢teau Khoury "Ste Thérèse", Dhour Zahlé, Bekaa, Lebanon. This is a clever and unusual blend of Caladoc and Pinot Noir. (Caladoc is an obscure variety which it was created, in the South of France, by crossing Malbec and Grenache Noir.) Ste Thérèse has intense, vibrant, red cherries, floral, a touch anise and forest fruit elements. It is very smooth with a silky texture leading to a clean and long finish. The ripe cherry and floral notes can recall nicely the sweetness and nutty flavours of the hazelnut while the anise characters will match the fennel and sour notes of the dish.

Roberto Della Pietra, wine buyer, Gauthier Soho/Gauthier Wines

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