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Porchetta Style Rabbit with Fennel Recipe - Coniglio in Porchetta Col Finocchio

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To cook a meat in porchetta is to cook it as if it were a roast pig, and though the idea of extending the technique used for roasting something as large as a big to something as small as a rabbit may seem extreme, there is a rationale for it, because in the parts of Lazio, Umbria, the marche and Romagna porchetta is flavored with wild fennel. You will need wild fennel fronds here, because bulb fennel isn't quite right.

Prep Time: 0 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

•A Rabbit, with its liver (have the gall bladder removed)

•2 cloves garlic, peeled

•3/4 pound (300 g) wild fennel fronds

•2 ounces (60 g) salami, ideally raw Italian salami. If not, as mildly flavored a cooked salami as you can find

•3 ounces (90 g) pancetta

•3 ounces (90 g) prosciutto

•Olive oil

•Salt and pepper to taste

When you buy the rabbit, ask the butcher to give you its liver. When you get it home, wash it well, pat it dry, and salt and pepper it, both inside and out.

Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C).

While it is heating, boil the fennel for about 10 minutes with the garlic and a pinch of salt. When it is done, drain it, reserving the water, and squeeze it dry.

Mince the salami, pancetta and prosciutto and saute the mixture in 2 tablespoons of oil; when it begins to brown, add the fennel and cook for a few minutes. Mince the rabbit liver, stir it into the mixture, and cook for a few minutes more.

Let the mixture cool and use it to stuff the cavity of the rabbit. Sew the cavity shut with needle and thread, and place the rabbit in a greased oven dish. Sprinkle the rabbit with a few drops of oil and put it in the oven. Roast it for about an hour (depending upon size and age it may require longer), basting it occasionally with the reserved fennel water.

When the rabbit is done remove it to a platter. Remove the stuffing, cut the rabbit into pieces, and the stuffing into slices. Serve with potatoes cooked as you prefer and a green salad. A wine? Red, and I might go with a Torgiano from Umbria.

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