I know many Brits turn up their noses at eating rabbit, but it’s a common dish here in Spain, particularly amongst our village neighbours. Samfaina refers to Catalonia’s famous rich vegetable sauce (or pesto), and is the essence of this satisfying, social dish. It is best cooked slowly.
(If you don’t want to use rabbit, use chicken instead.)
Catalan Pesto with Rabbit
Conejo con samfaina
Mouth-Watering Spanish Recipes
Serves 8 to 10
~ 25 to 30 minutes preparation ~
~ 2 hours cooking ~
2 medium onions
2 medium aubergines (eggplants)
2 medium red peppers
3 medium green peppers
200g (7 oz) pumpkin
6 ripe tomatoes
1 bulb garlic
1 rabbit, or chicken if you prefer (cut into pieces)
Small glass of brandy
4 tablespoons olive oil
1) Prepare the vegetables in advance, as this can take some time. Except for the garlic, all the vegetables need to be as finely chopped as possible. When the vegetables are chopped, set each aside, in separate containers, until ready to be cooked.
2) Separate the garlic into individual cloves. Remove the excess outer layers but do not peel.
3) Heat the oil in a large shallow pan and add the garlic.
4) Cook gently for 5 minutes or so then add the rabbit pieces.
5) Slowly cook the rabbit for 10 minutes, until the pieces are lightly golden.
6) Add the brandy. Stir and cover.
7) Very slowly, continue cooking for a further 20 minutes, until cooked through.
8) Remove the contents from the pan and set aside.
9) In the pan, heat a little more oil. Add the onion and stir until they are translucent.
10) Add the aubergines (eggplants) and peppers and cook for 10 minutes or so more. Add the pumpkin and the tomatoes.
11) Cook very slowly for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until everything has reduced and you have a rich sauce.
12) Return the rabbit and garlic to the pan. Stir well, covering the meat with the sauce.
13) Season to taste, cover, and continue cooking for 20 minutes, until the rabbit has taken on the flavours of the sauce.
14) Serve with lots of fresh bread to soak up the wonderful sauce!