Slow cooked until meltingly tender, this rabbit dish is an excellent, hearty winter dish, big enough to feed the whole family. The garlic paste makes the difference here!

Serves: 4-5 Preparation time: 15′ + 7-8h marinating Cooks in: 60′ Ready in: 1:15′

Ingredients
1 rabbit, in pieces
50ml red wine vinegar
70ml extra-virgin olive oil
120ml red wine
2 tbsp garlic paste (see below)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
4-5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp dried oregano
200 gr Zakynthos Ladotyri cheese*, in cubes
salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the garlic paste:
2 garlic heads
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Method
Step 1
Wash rabbit pieces and place in a large bowl covered with water and vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 7-8 hours. Wipe rabbit pieces with kitchen paper.

Step 2
Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the rabbit and add to the pan with olive oil and garlic paste. Cook for 3–4 minutes, turning frequently, until evenly browned. Pour in wine and wait until absorbed.

Step 3
Add all ingredients except oregano and cheese, half cover rabbit with hot water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40-45 mins until tender. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes until the meat is falling from the bones and the sauce is reduced. Season to taste if necessary. 5 mins before turning heat off sprinkle with oregano and add cheese. Serve rabbit with French fries or with short pasta.

Step 4
For the garlic paste: Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of garlic. Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, letting oil sink down into the cloves. Wrap the garlic with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a paring knife. When cold, press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper. Alternatively, boil heads of garlic in water or milk in a pan until tender. Use according to the recipe. Roast more garlic heads and preserve the rest of paste in jar covered with oil for future use.

NOTE
The recipe makes use of Zakynthos Ladotyri cheese, a kind of feta cheese, which is submerged in olive oil during the full ripening period.

Photo George Drakopoulos / Food styling Tina Webb

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