Coniglio: Rabbit ( Nico’s recipe “retouched” by Mom)
Here’s a recipe my son sent me and I ‘fixed up’ to lessen the degree of difficulty.
CONIGLIO AL CIOCCOLATO for 4 diners
1 coniglio: rabbit
3 ribs of celery
2 bay leaves
a fistful of pinoli
a fistful of raisins
2 small carrots cut into round slices
3 or 4 cloves
20 grams of wild fennel–or the soft, green tops of a large fennel and some seeds.
1 glass of white wine–actual recipe calls for white vinegar, but only if the rabbit is wild.
1 tablespoon of sugar
3 tablespoons of bitter chocolate
(May also use brandy and/or sherry, and slivered almonds in the preparation, if desired)
Skin the rabbit and cut into pieces.
Dip each piece into seasoned flour
Braise these pieces “sweetly” (as with kind, gentle persuasion) in a large heavy fry pan. with hot olive oil until they are golden.
In another pan, add the minced onion, pieces of celery, carrots, and slowly sauté in olive oil on a moderate flame.
When these vegetables have wilted and turned pale, but before gaining much color, add the bay leaves, pinoli (pine nuts), and raisins (if you have the tiny less sweet Sicilian ones, use these), cloves, and a few fennel seeds and the tops of the fennel.
When slightly golden, add the rabbit already cooked, salt and pepper. Cover lightly with the sugar and pieces of chocolate.
Stir the sauce and gingerly turn the meat.
Irrigate with wine (or vinegar), cover and cook on a slow flame until a little thickened sauce, rather consistent form. Turn the rabbit pieces once or twice.
Serve hot with mashed potatoes or rice, or tiny pennette.