One of My Favorite Argentinian Dishes
Braise the rabbit in red wine until it falls off the bone, then grill it for an amazing smoky flavor.
Wine-Braised Rabbit with Chimichurri
For the Braised Rabbit:
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Two 2 1/2-pound rabbits, each cut into 6 pieces
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
- 4 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 3 sprigs parsley, all herbs tied into a bundle with kitchen twine
- 3 sprigs thyme, all herbs tied into a bundle with kitchen twine
- 3 sprigs oregano, all herbs tied into a bundle with kitchen twine
- One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine, such as Malbec
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Vegetable oil, for grilling
For the Chimichurri:
- 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
- 3 tablespoons oregano leaves
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 serrano chile—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Braise the Rabbit
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Add 4 pieces of rabbit to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat until well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a rimmed platter. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and rabbit pieces in 2 more batches.
Add the bacon, celery, carrots, onion, garlic and herb bundle to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are slightly softened and the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Return the rabbit to the casserole and add any accumulated juices. Pour in the wine and bring just to a boil. Immerse the rabbit pieces as much as possible. Cover and simmer over low heat until the rabbit is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the heat and cool for 1 hour.
Transfer the rabbit pieces to a large bowl. Strain the cooking liquid over the rabbit through a fine sieve; discard the solids. Cover the stew with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the rabbit pieces from the liquid and bring to room temperature. In a medium saucepan, bring the cooking liquid to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 7 minutes. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Season the sauce with salt.
Make the Chimichurri
In a food processor or blender, combine the parsley, cilantro, oregano, bay leaves, garlic, chile and cumin and process until finely chopped. Add the olive oil and vinegar and pulse to combine. Season with salt.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and brush the grates with vegetable oil. Blot the rabbit pieces dry with paper towels and season with salt. Grill over moderately high heat until warmed through and slightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the rabbit to a platter, and baste with the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce and the chimichurri at the table.
MAKE AHEAD The chimichurri can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.