The Waiting Game

A braised rabbit recipe that was worth the wait.

André Baranowski

Maybe it's because my grandfather left the village of Mileto in Italy's Calabria region and never came back, or maybe my relatives there just really like us, but every time my husband and I visit, my cousin Nicola schemes to prevent us from leaving. He's warned of storms that never came and insisted we stay for festivals days away; once he even faked a train strike. But his most successful attempt began one morning when we found ourselves driving behind a truck stacked with rabbit traps. "You haven't tasted our local rabbit?" he asked. He vowed to prepare some the following day, before we caught the train back to the town, eight hours north, where we lived at that time. But the next morning Nicola returned from the butcher's shop empty-handed. "They'll have some tomorrow," he said. Alas, the next day's rabbits were too skinny, and the ones after that, too old. Finally, on day four, Nicola scored two meaty specimens and braised them with his homemade wine. They were tender (a feat for such lean meat) and toothsome—and entirely worth the wait.