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Fricassee of Rabbit with Prunes

Chef Jeremy Lee
Serves 4

12 ready-to-eat prunes, (Agen, if possible)
175ml/6fl oz dry white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
4 skinned rabbit legs, each cut into two pieces and trimmed
100g/4oz unsalted butter
3 shallots, finely chopped
6 whole almonds, blanched and ground (1 heaped tbsp)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g/4oz pine nuts
1 dsp aged balsamic vinegar (optional)
12 fresh sage leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the prunes in a small non-metallic dish, pour over the wine and leave to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight is best, then drain and the reserve the soaking liquid.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 5. Heat a heavy-based ovenproof casserole with a lid. Season the rabbit pieces with salt. Add the olive oil to the pan, then add the rabbit - you may have to do this is batches and fry until lightly browned all over, turning once. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan and then quickly stir in the shallots, ground almonds, garlic and pine nuts. Continue to cook, stirring for about 5 minutes until evenly golden brown.

Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan, if using and allow to reduce almost completely, then pour in the reserved soaking liquid and use to de-glaze, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the sage and continue to reduce until only a couple of tablespoons of syrupy liquid is left.

Return rabbit to the pan with the prunes. Cover with the lid and bake for 10-12 minutes until the rabbit is just tender, then switch off the oven and leave for another 15 minutes. Season to taste and scatter over mounds of parsley to serve.

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