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Farmer Style Rabbit - (Coniglio Contadino)

2 pounds rabbit pieces
1/4 pound pancetta or salt pork -- diced
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 cups coarsely-chopped onions
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or a teaspoon dried salt and freshly-ground black pepper)
1 cup dry white wine (preferably Soave)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shelled fresh peas


Place the rabbit pieces in a bowl and add cold water to cover. Add the lemon juice and refrigerate, covered, overnight.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Remove the rabbit pieces from the water and dry well. Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and lightly flour the rabbit pieces.


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rabbit pieces and brown them on all sides. Add the pancetta or salt pork and saute for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the rosemary and remove from heat.


Spread the onions in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the rabbit pieces, with pancetta or salt pork, on top. Add the wine, peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the rabbit pieces are tender.


Serve in the baking dish or transfer the rabbit to a serving platter and spoon the vegetables and pan juices over.


This recipe yields 6 servings.


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