Rabbits Braised with Olives, Capers, Vinaigrette Sauce

(“Conigli Brasati con Capperi ed Olive all’Aceto”)

 

(“Conighiu Stimpiratu a Siracusana”)


 


Wild and domestic rabbits are abundant in the province of Syracuse and they are a popular and much sought-after dish because it’s a low cholesterol meat, it has a mild taste and it is easy to digest.

This Syracuse’s recipe called “stimpiratu” makes use of all the plentiful local produce, simply combined to create a rare bouquet of aromas with a very pleasing taste beyond your expectations.

“Stimpiratu” means tempered, regulated, which refers to the addition of some vinegar to balance and enhance all the various ingredients, giving a tang to the dish.

Small rabbits, 2 to 3 pounds are preferred in this preparation because the flesh is lighter and more tender.

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

                  Rabbit

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 rabbits dressed and cut into pieces
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • ½ cup diced tomato, without skin and seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of capers, rinsed
  • ½ lb. of pitted green olives cut in half
  • ½ cup of celery, finely diced
  • 5 medium size potatoes skin removed and cut into small cubes
  • 3 sweet peppers, red or green; top and seeds removed and cut into stripes
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup of your preferred vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water

 

Preparation

The Rabbits
Soak the rabbit pieces in cold water for a few hours, rinse 2 or 3 times. Place in a colander for a few minutes and pat dry with paper or kitchen towels.
Heat ¼ cup of oil over a medium-high flame and sauté the pieces of rabbits until they are browned on all sides. 
After they are browned, set sautéed rabbits on a dish and season with salt and pepper.

The Stimpirata Sauce
Heat remaining ¼ cup of oil, over a medium heat, add garlic and soon after the tomatoes. 
Add the capers, olives, celery and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and the peppers, blend in with all the other ingredients. Taste for salt.
After 3 minutes transfer the sautéed rabbit pieces into the simmering vegetables, increase the heat to high and add the vinegar. Keep at high heat until the vinegar evaporates, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, adding from time to time some warm water if needed.
Serve at room temperature.