The Rabbit Cacciatore is one of the most popular ways to make an authentic rabbit stew. In Italy, the Cacciatore technique, is present in almost all the regional cuisines, with different variations depending on the traditions and the most used ingredients region by region. Here a typical Northern-Italian Rabbit Cacciatore, pan-roasted and braised along with red wine, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and juniper berries: delicious!
- 1 (3.5 lb) rabbit
- 1 Lb (450 g) Baby Bella mushrooms
- 2 oz (55 g) dried Porcini mushrooms
- 1.5 cups (350 g) tomatoes puree
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 juniper berries
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- to taste table salt
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ORIGIN OF THE CACCIATORE COOKING TECHNIQUE
The culinary technique “alla cacciatora” (commonly translated in English as “cacciatore”), is one of the most popular Italian ways to cook wild game and poultry.
Indeed, the “alla cacciatora” cooking way is generally considered a technique created by the hunters to mitigate the strong taste of the game just hunted. For this reason, the critical ingredients have bold flavors like rosemary, or garlic, or juniper berries.
In Italy, often the hunters use to be also farmers: for this, along with the herbs and the other ingredients easy to find in the forest, like mushrooms, wild herbs, and berries, the Cacciatore recipe includes ingredients that commonly come from the vegetable gardens.
From the garden, the most common ingredients are onions, garlic, and tomatoes, that compose the ingredient list of the basic recipe of Cacciatore.
Besides this, every region owns its local variation of the cacciatore recipe, depending on the vegetables available in the gardens and the nearby forest.
CACCIATORE RECIPE: DIFFERENCES REGION BY REGION
As I said, the vegetables and some forest products are strongly influenced by the lovcal availability of the products in the past times.
The Northern-Italian Cacciatore recipes are rich in mushrooms and juniper berries.
In Tuscany, the meat is braised along with fresh tomatoes and black olives, then basted with 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar.
The Roman recipe alla Cacciatora requires anchovies and often is prepared without tomato sauce.
In Sicily, it is common to cook the meat with tomato sauce, bell peppers, capers, and anchovies.
Besides these examples, the Italian Cacciatore recipe has tons of regional variations and family recipes!
NORTHERN ITALIAN RABBIT CACCIATORE: TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
WET BRINE – this step is optional, but I strongly suggest you make it in order to increase the tenderness and the flavor of the meat.
First, dissolve 7.5 tbsp of table salt into 3 quarts of room temperature water. Once reduced into pieces, soak the rabbit into the brine and store in the fridge at least 4 hours (best if 12 hours).
MUSHROOMS – Porcini are the most required and appreciated mushrooms in Italy. So, to obtain the traditional Italian taste of rabbit cacciatore, I suggest you to add a fistful of dried Porcini: the result will surprise you!
If you want to prepare a signature entree, you can consider using frozen Porcini, or other wild mushrooms to cook along or instead of Baby Bella.
HERBS AND FLAVORS – Rosemary is the essential herbs in almost all the Italian Cacciatore recipes. Along with this, I love to add juniper berries, cloves, and bay leaves to obtain a genuine Northern-Italian taste!
PREPARING IN ADVANCE – Even if delicious just made, Rabbit Cacciatore is one of those recipes even better the day after. Just remember to re-heat the rabbit, very, very, slowly.
SIDE PAIRINGS – probably, the best match with Rabbit alla Cacciatora is a classic Italian Polenta. I also love to serve the Cacciatore along with a delicious potato puree (here my recipe).
PREPARING THE RABBIT
WET BRINE (OPTIONAL)
SEARING THE MEAT
BASTING AND BRAISING
FINISHING RABBIT CACCIATORE
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 485 Total Fat 21g Saturated Fat 3g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 17g Cholesterol 0mg Carbohydrates 20g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 7g Sugar 10g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 2g
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