Conejo con Salsa de Ciruela y Chile

A Sunday recipe featuring rabbit in a deep prune and chile sauce from Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte.

There is a long history of eating rabbit in Mexico, as well as other wild game like duck and deer. It’s a versatile meat that pairs well with native chiles and is best when slow cooked over low heat, two important factors for many Mexican dishes. Chef Margarita learned this recipe from her mother, who she calls “an artist in the kitchen.” With six children to take care of, the length of time of this Sunday recipe allowed for a lot of other chores to be completed while the rabbit simmered and cooked. Chef Margarita remembers that her mother used to make a small cheese cloth bundle of the spices left in the strainer, and instead of discarding, would place it in the saucepan where she cooked the rabbit for added flavor. – Editor’s Note

This recipe for rabbit in prune sauce is reprinted from Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s cookbook Mexico: The Cookbook, published by Phaidon Press. Click here to purchase your own copy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 rabbit, cleaned and cut to pieces (get the butcher to do this because rabbit bones are fragile and splinter easily)
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 1/4 cups red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks, dry-roasted
  • 1 clove, dry roasted
  • 5 peppercorns, dry roasted
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 6 large ancho chiles, dry-roasted and sliced in half
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 3/4 cups prunes soaked in water
  • sea salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley, to garnish
  • cooked white rice, to serve

Serves 6

PREPARATION

  1. Season the rabbit all over with salt and pepper, then wrap the pieces of rabbit in the bacon.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add the pieces of rabbit, in batches if necessary, and cook over medium heat, turning once, for about 10 minutes until lightly browned on both sides. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the rabbit pieces to a dish, and let cool.
  3. Combine the wine, garlic, cinnamon, clove, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and parsley in a bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture over the pieces of rabbit, turning to coat.
  4. Cover the dish with plastic wrap (cling film) and let marinate for at least 2 hours. Drain the rabbit through a strainer (sieve) into a bowl. Reserve the marinade, take the rabbit out of the strainer, and then discard the contents of the strainer.
  5. Spread one-third of the chiles over the bottom of a large saucepan, put half the pieces of rabbit, half of the sliced onions, and half the prunes on top. Cover this with a third of the chiles. Put the rest of the rabbit, onion, and prunes on top and then top with the remaining chiles.
  6. Pour the marinade into the pan and cover. Cook over low heat for about 1 hour or until the rabbit is tender and the sauce has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and divide everything, including the chiles, among six individual plates. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to garnish and serve immediately with white rice.
 
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