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Italian Braised Rabbit (Coniglio Bianco)

2 rabbits

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

10 juniper berries, crushed (optional)

1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns

1/3 cup olive oil

1 onion, peeled and sliced root to stalk

1/2 cup white wine or vermouth

1 teaspoon dried thyme

5 to 6 cloves roasted or preserved garlic

Salt, to taste

10 to 20 green olives, pitted and halved

3 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley

Cut the rabbits into serving pieces. Save stray bones in the pelvis, ribs, belly flaps and neck for stock.

Place all rabbit pieces — not just stray ones — into a pot and cover them with cool water by about 1/2 inch. Bring this to a boil, then remove from heat. Skim off any sludgy stuff that floats to top. Fish out all good pieces of rabbit — legs and saddle — and put them in a bowl in refrigerator.

Add the bay leaves, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, juniper berries (if using) and cracked black peppercorns to pot. Return everything to a bare simmer and cook for 1 hour. Strain, discarding solids, and set aside. You will need 1 cup rabbit stock to complete recipe; any remainder can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

In a heavy, lidded pot, such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the sliced onion and cook until soft and translucent. Do not brown onion. Add the white wine, 1 cup stock, rabbit pieces from refrigerator, the thyme and garlic. Bring to a simmer and add 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook until meat is tender, for about 11/2 to 2 hours.

Finish dish by adding the green olives and fresh parsley. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or rice and a green vegetable. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

— Recipe adapted by the Los Angeles Times from a recipe on Hank Shaw's food blog "Hunter Angler Gardener Cook."