Rabbit Stew Maltese style or 'Stuffat tal-Fenek'
 
 
A hearty rustic stew that's a mainstay of traditional Maltese cuisine. Make sure you've plenty of crusty bread to mop up the wine and bay sauce. *If using rabbit liver and kidneys, remove when the stew is done, slice up roughly and serve with some sauce and shreds of rabbit meat on spaghetti as a first course. **Peas are favourite in this stew, but do not feature in the traditional recipe I used, but feel free to add 15 mins before end of cooking whether using a handful or two of fresh or frozen. ***Herbs – bay is the only herb required in the traditional dish, but you could add oregano and rosemary to give more depth of flavour. Serves 4-6. Cooking time: 1hr 15 mins; prepping time: 15 mins + a minimum 30 mins marinating. Ready in 2 hrs. Complexity: easy cooking Plan ahead and try to marinate a good 12-24 hrs before if you can (remember!)but 30 mins a must if you can’t prep in long in advance. Quantities are approximate so add more or less liquid according to taste and if it dries out cooking. Also, you can use chicken to substitute rabbit – choose cheaper thighs (6) on the bone, or a large whole chicken (2-3 kg) jointed rather than breast or de-boned thigh.
Recipe type: Mains
Cuisine: Maltese
Ingredients
  • 2 rabbits skinned and jointed, with or without liver and kidneysprint button transparent
  • ¾ bottle robust red wine (cheap and cheerful)
  • approx. 2 wine glasses of water
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 8-10 bay leaves
  • 1 x 400g can tomato polpa or whole plum tomatoes mashed up
  • 3 tbsps tomato puree’
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tbsp regular olive oil
Method
  1. Marinate the rabbit in the wine, garlic and bay for an hour or two, or if possible the night before cooking. Cover and chill in the fridge.
  2. When ready to cook, remove the rabbit joints from the marinade, shaking off excess liquid. Heat the olive oil over a high heat in a heavy-based casserole and sear the rabbit on all sides until lightly browned (approx 4 mins each side). Remove and set aside.
  3. Lower the heat under the casserole and add the onion and some fresh bay leaves to the pan. Brown the onion gently for around 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to fry gently for another minute.
  4. Add the tomato ‘polpa’ or peeled whole canned tomatoes mashed up, and increase the heat. Cook for around 5 minutes stirring a little, then add the marinade and bring to the boil. Return the rabbit joints to the pan, give a good shake and top up with water to just cover the rabbit. Cover, return to the boil, and then reduce to a medium simmer (gently bubbling).
  5. After half an hour, add the sliced carrots, potatoes and tomato puree’, shake the pot gently or stir to ensure the vegetables are covered with liquid. Continue to simmer the stew for around another half an hour.
  6. At one hour, prop the lid half off to allow the sauce to thicken up. Check the rabbit after 15 minutes – the stew is ready when the rabbit is just falling off the bone and the root vegetables are tender.
  7. Serve with fennel-seed and olive oil roast potatoes or regular potato mash and with white crusty bread to mop up the delicious and rich sauce.
Recipe by The Red Bistro at http://theredbistro.com/2014/03/23/rabbit-stew-maltese-style-stuffat-tal-fenek/