Lagos/Kounelli Fournou (Baked Hare Or Rabbit)

Course : Greek
Serves: 4
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1 medium rabbit or hare cleaned and skinned
2 medium celery stalks -- with leaves, -- chopped
2 medium onions -- chopped
1 medium carrot -- sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 piece bay leaf -- crumbled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 pieces peppercorns -- bruised
2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 ounces -tomato sauce or 4 fresh tomatos chopped
3 pieces allspice berries

Preparation / Directions:

After washing the rabbit or hare thoroughly and cutting into serving pieces, place in a large glass or earthenware bowl. Make a marinade by combining the celery, onions, carrots, herbs, peppercorns, wine, and vinegar and pouring over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for a day or two, turning the pieces over occasionally. On serving day, drain, reserving the marinade, and wipe dry. Transfer the marinade to a casserole and simmer for 15 minutes. While the marinade is cooking, heat the butter in a large frying pan, and when very hot sear the meat over high heat until it is reddened in color without browning. Remove from the heat, and with a spatula lift the rabbit or hare pieces into the simmering marinade, then pour in the remaining butter. Taste for seasoning, then add the salt and pepper, tomatoes, and allspice. Weight the meat with a small plate to keep it under the sauce, then bake it in a very slow oven (225F) for 2-1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the sauce thickened. Source: The Food of Greece - by Vilma Liacouras Chantiles Avenel Books, New York ISBN:0-517-27888-X

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