Rabbit With Prunes

1 farmed rabbit

12 prunes, stoned

4 tablespoons of brandy

0.5 cup red wine

125g streaky bacon, diced

30g butter
12 pickling onions, peeled

1 tablespoon plain flour

2 cups hot chicken or rabbit stock

1 sprig thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon red wine

1. Soak prunes 1 hour in brandy and red wine. Have your rabbit portioned according to the Jonathans manner.

2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cook bacon gently until golden in an enamelled cast-iron casserole big enough to hold rabbit.

3. Lift out bacon and reserve. Add butter to bacon fat and brown rabbit in batches until golden brown. Transfer browned pieces to a plate until all are done. Add onions to fat and cook, turning, until coloured all over, then remove to a plate. 

4. Add flour and stir and scrape until browned, about 3 minutes. Tip in hot stock and stir vigorously to loosen all crusty bits to make the beginnings of a sauce.

5. Put back legs and saddle pieces into casserole with thyme, bacon, salt and pepper. Cover with buttered baking paper and then the lid and cook for 45 minutes. Add onions, forelegs and their juice, then add prunes and their soaking liquor.

6. Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan until a golden caramel. Add vinegar and warm until caramel has dissolved. Add to casserole and stir through. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover casserole with buttered paper again and continue to cook until tender-at least 30 minutes, maybe longer. Serve with mashed potato. This dish reheats well.

Recipe c/- Stephanie Alexanders the Cooks Companion