Monday, 28 November 2011

Recipes - Stuffat tal Fenek

Stuffat tal Fenek, Rabbit Stew, may be Malta's nation dish.  As there is not a lot of land mass in Malta, and therefore not a lot of room for grazing animals, rabbit is a popular protein on the island.  In Australia, and many other western cultures, rabbit is not considered to be a popular meat to cook with.  Most people I've encountered do not even have the inclination to try it, thinking of rabbit as a pet not a source of food.  For me, I grew up eating rabbit stew and it has always one of my favourite things that my Nan prepares.  I felt so honoured when she gave me her recipe 5 years ago.  This is awesome.  Enjoy.

NB: Wild rabbits are available at select butchers, however, wild rabbit can be tough, with a gamey flavour.  Farmed rabbits have a much milder flavours, are usually more tender and are the best choice for cooking.  It can be difficult to get your hands on farmed rabbit but is well worth the effort.

1 rabbit, cut into 12-15 pieces
3/4 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
3/4 tsp all spice
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
500g pork spare rib, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 onions, finely diced
3 potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 tbs tomato paste 
1 tsp white sugar
1 cup beef stock
1.5 cups water
3/4 cup peas
1kg spaghetti, parmesan cheese and bread - to serve

Step 1 - Place rabbit pieces and offal in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, combine garlic, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, and a 1/4 tsp each of all spice, garam masala, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Combine well and pour over rabbit.  Cover with glad wrap and marinade for at least two hours, stirring every half an hour or so.
Step 2 - Heat a good whack of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Add a single layer of pork spare rib pieces and fry for about a minute on each side.  Remove from pan and place on a large plate.  Fry off remaining pork spare ribs in as many batches as necessary.  Remove from pan and place on plate.
Step 3 - In small batches, fry rabbit pieces and offal in pan for about 1-3 minutes on each side, depending on the size and thickness of the piece, until well browned.  Set aside on the plate with the pork.  Reserve marinading liquid.
Step 4 - Throw onions into pan and cook until soft and translucent.  Add a little more oil if necessary.  Throw spices in the pan and cook well, stirring until spices are fragrant.  
Step 5 - Add tomato past and sugar, and cook, stirring, until tomato paste has darkened in colour significantly.  Remove from heat and pour in marinading liquid and remaining wine.  Stir until well combined then add potato, beef stock and water and return to heat.  Bring to boil, cook for 2-3 minutes, then reduce heat to low.   
Step 6 - Return rabbit and pork to the pan, season well with salt and pepper and slowly simmer for 2-3 hours, until sauce is thick and meat is falling off the bone.  In the last 5 minutes, add peas to the pot.
Step 7 - When ready to serve, cook spaghetti as per packet instructions.  Place spaghetti on serving plate, top with one or two pieces of rabbit and spoon over a generous amount of sauce.   Serve with parmesan cheese, fresh cracked black pepper and thick slices of crusty bread on the side.


  1. That is the way we Maltese the Stuffat tal Fenek except for the garam masala and cinnamon but I tried it and it's fab!!!!!1

  2. It sounds great but you forgot to mention peas