Lapin aux Olives

4 rabbit legs (we used two legs and two pieces of mid-section)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme plus one sprig leaves only, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary plus one sprig leaves only, finely chopped
1 sprig parsley plus one sprig leaves only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1½ cups white wine
Salt and pepper
¼ cup flour for dredging plus 1 tablespoon flour for sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
¼ pound picholine olives, pitted

In a large mixing bowl, combine rabbit legs, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, whole sprigs of thyme, rosemary and parsley, peppercorns and wine. Let marinate for two hours.

Drain marinade and reserve liquid and vegetables separately. Pat legs dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge legs in ¼ cup flour. Heat olive oil over high heat in Dutch oven and, once the oil is hot, add butter. Brown legs on both sides until they are dark, golden brown – about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove legs from the pan and set aside.

Add vegetables from marinade to pot and cook over high heat until they are browned and caramelized. Stir in tomato paste and remaining tablespoon of flour and mix well with wooden spoon. Cook for one minute, then stir in vinegar and reserved marinade liquid. Cook over high heat until liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add rabbit legs and reduce to a simmer. Cook over low heat for one hour or until meat is very tender. Remove legs and set aside.

Strain cooking liquid and return to pot. Return legs to pot and bring liquid to a boil. Stir in olives and chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper, serve, and ENJOY!

From The Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain.

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