The surprise hit of last year's couscous festival was my rabbit tagine. I say "surprise hit", because when my crew and I were planning the menu we were uncertain about whether or not a general audience of Los Angelenos would be open to eating rabbit. We were happy to be proven wrong.
Rabbit is available at Bristol Farms, Harmony Farms, Large Chinese supermarkets, and live halal poultry butchers.
1 whole rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon ras el hanout
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium sweet onion, brunoise (or finely chopped)
1 cup rabbit stock (or chicken stock)
1/3 cup of pitted prunes
1/4 cup toasted marcona almonds (or regular almonds)
Season rabbit pieces with ras el hanout, salt and pepper. Place in cold tagine (clay or flameware) on stove top, turn up heat to medium, cook for 15 minutes, turn rabbit pieces midway through cooking.
Lower heat to a gentle flame (remember clay and flameware retain residual heat longer than aluminum or ssteel). Add onions, stir, cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add stock and cook for 45 minutes at a gentle simmer. Add prunes and cook for 15-20 minutes longer or until rabbit is almost falling off the bone. It's important to adjust seasoning for tagines towards the end of cooking. The sauces reduce and does the saltiness. About 10 minutes before the rabbit seems to be done, taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper and ras el hanout as desired.
Garnish with toasted almonds. Serve with couscous.
Note: If you don't have a clay or flameware tagine vessel, you can make this a dutch oven or stew pot. However, you will have to brown the rabbit pieces gently. Do not over brown rabbit as the skin does not have a protective layer of fat like chicken and it will become tough.