Delicious Portuguese recipes for rabbit abound. Massachusetts author and teacher Ana Patuleia Ortins shares five of them in her authoritative and wonderful Portuguese Homestyle Cooking (Interlink, 2001), calling this one her favorite. We adapt it here with her kind permission.
- 1 4-pound rabbit, cut into 6 serving pieces*
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large very ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 2 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Portuguese Hot Pepper Paste (recipe here)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup red wine
Except for the wine, combine all the ingredients in a heavybottomed, 4-quart pot. Turn ingredients to mix thoroughly.
Pour wine over, cover tightly, and place over medium-high heat. Be alert—the instant it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low or low and simmer for at least an hour or until the rabbit is tender. Adjust the seasonings.
Serve alongside boiled potatoes and a glass of red wine—Bandit, a locally-made tempranillo from Travessia, New Bedford’s urban winery, seems a fitting choice for such spicy robust campfire fare.
Serves 4 to 6.
*A whole rabbit is easier to cut up into even serving pieces than a chicken. Sever the limbs at the joints and use a heavy knife to cut across the spine at intervals. Take heart—even pros feel a bit squeamish about the head. Ortins writes: “I usually saved the head of the rabbit for my father who, like many Portuguese, considered rabbit brains a delicacy. Unless you can find freshly killed rabbit, most rabbits you will find in supermarkets are headless which, I must admit, pleases me.”