Sara Jenkins created this recipe based on her husband’s memories of his Moroccan grandmother’s cooking. She seasons the dish with ras el hanout, a heady spice blend used often in Moroccan cuisine. If you have a terra-cotta tagine, use it here; it will impart a subtle earthy flavor to the dish. Otherwise, a Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot works well.
Put the rabbit in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir the ras el hanout with 2-1/2 tsp. salt and 1-1/2 tsp. pepper; then sprinkle it all over the rabbit. Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil over the rabbit and turn the pieces to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the rabbit from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Heat a flameproof terra-cotta tagine, an 8-quart Dutch oven, or other heavy-duty pot over high heat. Peel back an edge of the plastic from the bowl and use the plastic to hold the rabbit back while you pour the oil from the bowl into the pot. Once the oil is hot, add half of the rabbit (about 8 pieces) meaty side down and cook until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is golden, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the rabbit to a rimmed baking sheet and repeat with the remaining rabbit pieces.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the pot. Add the onion, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the rabbit and carrots, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and rearrange the rabbit pieces so the ones on the bottom of the pan are now on the top. If the pan looks dry, add 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer until the rabbit is very tender, 30 minutes more. Stir in the peas and cilantro, increase the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Serve with roasted potatoes or fresh, crusty bread.
nutrition information (per serving):
29, Fat Calories
260, Saturated Fat
56, Monounsaturated Fat
15, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips