This slow-braised rabbit dish has been very popular at Pinotta recently. It reflects our home-style cooking and relaxed, cosy, intimate environment at the restaurant. Best eaten amongst friends with a hands-on approach to finding every last little bit of rabbit from the tiny bones (think a land version of mud crab).

We suggest a couple of wines from our list with this dish. If you're interested in a white wine, you should try the 2009 Gilbert Picq Chablis. For a red wine, we recommend the 2009 Eastern Peake Pinot Noir from Ballarat and the 2009 Dolcetto Vigna Tecc DOCG from Piedmont.

Serves 4

Braised Rabbit
1 x 1.5kg rabbit
70ml olive oil
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 handful fresh oregano
4 bay leaves
400ml white wine
600ml chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
salt
pepper
60g butter

Soft Polenta
450ml milk
200ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves
200g FERRERO express polenta
80g grated parmesan
salt

Method

Break down the rabbit, removing the front and back legs first, then chop the body and ribs into about 6 pieces. In a pan large enough to neatly fit the rabbit, gently sauté the onions and the garlic in 1/2 of the olive oil. When the onions are soft, remove the pan from the heat. In a new pan, lightly brown the rabbit in the remaining olive oil over a moderate heat. When browned, put the onions back on the heat. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Neatly arrange the rabbit in the pan over the onions and add the bay leaves, 1/2 of the oregano, carrots and chicken stock. Cover and place in a pre-heated oven at 160c for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

To make the polenta, pour the milk and chicken stock into a saucepan and add the bay leaves. Bring up to a gentle simmer then add the polenta. Whisk constantly to maintain a smooth consistency until the polenta cooks. Once cooked, add the parmesan and season with the salt to taste. Remove from the heat and cover tightly with cling-film to maintain heat until ready to serve.

Once the rabbit is soft to the bone, remove from oven. Carefully remove the rabbit from the pan and cover to keep warm. Place the pan back on the stove and reduce the sauce until just starting to thicken. Add the rabbit back to the reduced sauce then add the butter to further thicken and intensify. Finally, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve on the soft polenta garnishing with the remaining oregano.

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