Braised rabbit with sauce pearà


  • Serves 6 - 8 people

"Enrico, our sous-chef, is from the land of sauce pearà: Verona, Italy," says Pepperell. "We sometimes like to make this sauce on a winter's day for the family meal and serve it with chicken, in the absence of rabbit."

  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large rabbit (about 1.5kg), jointed into 8 pieces (see note)
  • 10 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 375 ml dry white wine
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 150 gm (1 cup) Ligurian olives in brine, pitted and 200ml brine reserved
  • 1 lemon, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) oregano
  • Pearà sauce
  • 100 gm unsalted butter
  • 100 gm beef bone marrow, scooped from the bone (see note)
  • 50 gm dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 200ml cold water for 1 hour then coarsely chopped, water reserved separately
  • 150 gm coarse sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 100 ml chicken stock
01   Preheat oven to 200C. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add rabbit in batches and lightly brown (2-3 minutes each side), then transfer to a flameproof roasting pan that fits rabbit pieces snugly in a single layer. Add garlic to frying pan and stir until light golden (1 minute), then deglaze pan with wine and add to rabbit with chicken stock and olive brine; the liquid should cover the rabbit by three-quarters. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop over medium heat, add olives, lemon and oregano, season to taste with black pepper, then braise uncovered in oven until rabbit is cooked and sauce has thickened slightly (45 minutes to 1 hour). Season and keep warm.
02   For pearà sauce, heat butter and bone marrow in a frying pan over medium heat until mixture is bubbling and marrow partially renders (small pieces of will remain visible; 4-6 minutes). Stir in porcini and cook until mushrooms smell nutty (2 minutes). Add breadcrumbs and stir over low heat until crumbs start to turn golden (10 minutes). Add reserved porcini water and chicken stock, simmer until stock slightly emulsifies with the fat and becomes the consistency of a wet bread sauce (1 minute). Season to taste.
03   Serve rabbit in bowls with lots of braising liquid and pearà sauce and scatter with parsley.

Note Order the rabbit in advance from your butcher and ask to have it jointed. Bone marrow is available from select butchers, but needs to be ordered ahead.

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