I am in love with Spanish cuisine and, particularly, Mallorcan cuisine. It takes me back to happy and relaxed vacations I spent on this beautiful island as a young adult, and the wonderful food I enjoyed during this time. One of my favorite dishes was a stewed rabbit dish that I had in a restaurant in Fornalutx frequented by huge parties of Spanish families coming together for lunch every Sunday at long tables set up in the shade of the orange trees.
So here is a recipe for a Mallorcan rabbit stew that assembles the tastes of the island. It’s best accompanied by warm bread with sobrasada and a sprinkle of fresh thyme.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 800 grams of tomato (very red and ripe)
- 4 oranges, washed under hot water
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 stalks of thyme
- 4 stalks of fresh parsley
- 4 shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 small fennels (with leaves)
- 4 rabbit legs
- olive oil
- freshly ground pepper, salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of Pimentón de la Vera (dulce)
- 150 ml of white wine
- 100 grams of green olives (without stone)
- Cut out the base of stalks of the tomatoes with a sharp knife and make a cross-shaped incision at the bottom of each tomato. Bring water to the boil. Briefly blanch the tomatoes, remove from the water, rinse under cold water. Then remove the skin of the tomatoes. Cut into halves. With a teaspoon, remove the seeds and juice into a separate container, and set aside the tomato halves. Puree the seeds and juice with a hand blender and pass through a strain into another container in order to filter out the seeds. Discard the seeds and preserve the juice (should be around 200 to 250 ml).
- Zest one orange.
- Make a few incisions into each bay leaf.
- Make a bouquet garni from the bay leaves, cinnamon, thyme and parsley.
- Juice 1 to 2 of the oranges until you have approximately 150 ml of juice.
- Peel the shallots and cut into quarters.
- Peel the garlic cloves (use whole).
- Remove the leaves from the fennel and keep in cold water until used later.
- Wash and cut the fennels into quarters. Remove the base of the stalk in a way that the fennel quarters do not fall apart.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Rub the rabbit legs with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a roasting pan, heat up some olive oil on medium to high heat. Roast the rabbit legs from both sides, approximately 3 minutes each side. Remove from the roaster and set aside.
- Briefly roast the fennel from all sides, add the shallot and garlic cloves and roast briefly as well. Add the Pimentón de la Vera and the sugar and deglaze with white wine. Allow the liquid to reduce almost completely.
- Add the rabbit legs, the orange zest, the bouquet garni, the tomato and orange juice, and bring to the boil. Then cover and let stew in the oven for approximately 40 minutes (turn around the rabbit legs after 20 minutes).
- Fillet the remaining oranges by cutting off the skin completely and cutting out the segments without any skin attached to them.
- Dice the tomato halves.
- At the end of the first 40 minutes oven time, turn the rabbit legs around again and remove the cover. Remove the bouquet garni. Add the olives, oranges and tomato dices. Let stew in the oven (without cover) for another 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, dry the fennel leaves and chop finely.
- Serve sprinkled with fennel leaves.