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|Time||1 hour preparation, 4 hours cooking|
- 1 whole large rabbit (c. 2 kg)
- 2 tablespoon oil (sunflower)
- 1 clove garlic
- 300 g white potatoes (peeled)
- 1 small carrot (peeled and chopped)
- 800 g canned crushed tomatoes or canned 'Pelati'
- 200 ml Red Wine
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 or 3 Mediterranean bay leaf
- Tabasco sauce, fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste
- 100 g peas (canned)
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
Garlic Fry the Rabbit Meat
- Cut up the rabbit at the joints. Cut the rib section into 3 or 4 pieces, and divide the legs at all the joints. Split the head of the rabbit in half. The whole animal should be cut into about 10 or 12 pieces so they are large and chunky, but small enough that they can be easily manipulated with large spoon. Remove and keep internal organs apart.
- Dice the garlic very finely. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Heat some of the garlic in the oil. Add some rabbit pieces and cook through.
- Remove cooked meat from the pan and place in a large container. Cook the rest of the meat in the same way in batches, adding some garlic with every batch. The meat should be well cooked (so that it can be eaten) but not very brown.
- Finally fry the internal organs whole in the same oil, until well cooked. Take some of the smaller pieces of meat without bone and add them to the organs. Keep these apart from the main meat.
Prepare the Stew
- Cut the potatoes into large irregular chunks, slightly smaller than the pieces of meat.
- In a stock pot, place the fried rabbit, the potatoes, the chopped carrot, the tomato pulp, wine, sugar and laurel leaves. Add salt, pepper, mixed spice and Tabasco carefully. Cover and simmer on a low flame for 4 hours. Stir occasionally during the first hour.
- Once done, add the peas, and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).
The best stew is slow cooked on the smallest flame for as long as possible. Using a higher flame you can reduce cooking time to 2 hours, but this is not a dish that should be rushed. If you have the time you can even cook it for 6 hours on a camping type flame for an even richer taste.
The typical Maltese rabbit stew is served in a few different ways depending on the situation, family tradition and locality. One way is to simply serve a plate of stew with Maltese bread for dipping in the sauce. Sometimes the internal organs and some small bits of boneless meat are served without any garnish a small plate with salt and pepper and fresh sour-dough bread as a special treat for children as they wait for this time consuming dish to be prepared. A full , Maltese word meaning 'Rabbit based dinner party' could be as follow:
- Start with Maltese galletti, Gbejniet, Zalzett, bigilla, and the internal organs of the rabbit as entrées.
- For second plate serve Spaghetti (typically slightly overcooked in Maltese cuisine) with a covering of sauce from the stew.
- Serve the rabbit meat and potatoes (with little sauce) as main course, always accompanied by bread, and a strong red wine.
- Serve Maltese style Trifle or Traditional Maltese Ice Cream (also called Gelat tan-Nanna) for dessert.
- Round off with peanuts in the shell and Anisette.