There’s something about a one-pot dish, the fragrance of a Dutch oven brimming with roasted meat, that says autumn has arrived. For a bowl of comfort food, Two Boroughs Larder chef and owner Josh Keeler offers his Rabbit Hunter’s Style or Coniglio alla Cacciatore—rustic, Italian peasant food perfect for a chilly Charleston eve. And while sourcing your ingredients might require some planning, Keeler promises his recipe is as straightforward as a traditional stew.
“You want to start by ordering your rabbit cut eight ways,” says the chef. He suggests visiting Ted’s Butcherblock. Season it with fennel pollen, salt, and pepper and refrigerate overnight. “I prefer the fennel pollen over the seed because it doesn’t have that woody flavor. You can buy it at the Spice Exchange downtown,” Keeler notes. The next day, marinate the meat in a bottle of pinot noir. While you wait, place almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven.
In the Dutch oven, sear each piece of rabbit, then remove it from the pan. As for the ham, Keeler is all about the “nice smokiness” of Tennessee’s famed Benton’s. “Don’t burn it—we’re looking for crispy little cubes,” he instructs. In the remaining ham fat, cook the rest of your ingredients. “Simmer until the rabbit is tender and the sauce is nappe, meaning it coats the back of a spoon,” explains the chef. Top rabbit with almonds and ham for a taste of Southern Italy.