About this recipe:A rich and delicious rabbit stew with a bit of cocoa added as the surprise ingredient. No one will taste chocolate outright, but the cocoa will add a special 'something' that everyone will love. Serve with mash or rice and buttered cabbage for a satisfying and impressive meal.
1 rabbit, jointed
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
4 juniper berries
1 litre red wine (preferably Côtes du Rhône)
1 tablespoon olive oil
150g smoked bacon, cubed
2 tablespoons plain flour
salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
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A day ahead, marinate rabbit pieces with onions, carrots, thyme, bay leaf, garlic and juniper berries. Pour red wine over all, cover and refrigerate until next day.
Drain meat (reserving the marinade), putting rabbit pieces to one side, carrots and onions on the other.
Heat olive oil in a large casserole and fry bacon. Add rabbit pieces and let brown slightly for a few minutes, then add carrots and onions. Finally, stir in flour and mix well. Season to taste and add reserved red wine marinade.
Cook gently over low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the stew is cooked, strain the sauce; adjust seasoning and stir in cocoa powder. Simmer gently till slightly reduced. Mix well, pour over rabbit pieces and serve.