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Braised Rabbit with Red Peppers

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Serves: 4
1.1kg / 2 1/2 lb rabbit pieces
125ml / 4 fl oz olive oil
juice and grated lest of 1 lemon
2-3 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
4 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 2.5 cm / 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
400 g can strained, crushed tomatoes
1 tsp brown sugar
freshly cooked polenta or creamy mashed potatoes, to serve

Place the rabbit pieces in a shallow dish with half the olive oil, the lemon lest and juice, thyme and some black pepper. Turn until well coated, then cover and leave to marinate for about 1 hour.

Heat half the remaining oil in a large, heavy-based casserole, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, then add the peppers and cook for a further 12-15 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, crushed tomatoes and brown sugar and cook, covered, until soft, stirring occasionally.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan, drain the rabbit, reserving the marinade, and pat the rabbit dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Add the rabbit to the pan and cook on all sides until golden. Transfer the rabbit to the casserole and mix to cover with the tomato sauce.

Add the reserved marinade to the frying pan and cook, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the pan. Add to the rabbit and stir gently.

Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rabbit is tender. Serve the rabbit and the vegetable mixture on a bed of polenta or creamy mashed potatoes.

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