Rabbit and Potatoes Baked in a Crepnia

A crepnia is a round, shallow, heavy steel pan with a high, flat lid that fits over its edges. The pan is filled with food, covered, then pushed into the hearth. Embers are piled all around it. The word crepnia also applies to the food—usually meat with vegetables—that cooks in the vessel.

Rabbit and Potatoes Baked in a Crepnia
A crepnia is a round, shallow, heavy steel pan with a high, flat lid that fits over its edges. The pan is filled with food, covered, then pushed into the hearth. Embers are piled all around it.
Yield: serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh fryer rabbits, about 3 lbs. each, cleaned and dressed
  • 18 new potatoes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Leaves from 1 medium branch sage
  • 1 medium branch fresh rosemary, broken into thirds
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Build a hot fire in a pizza oven or outdoor grill using wood and/or hardwood charcoal.
  2. Meanwhile, lay each rabbit on its back and, using a sharp knife, cut off hind legs at the joint near the backbone. Cut under shoulder blades to remove forelegs from rib cage. Trim off rib cage on either side of loin and discard, then trim neck and tail ends of loin and discard. Cut loin crosswise (through backbone) into 2-3 pieces.
  3. Combine rabbit, potatoes, onions, garlic, wine, oil, sage, rosemary, and vinegar in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well. Transfer to a crepnia or a heavy, two-handled, flat-bottomed wok. Cover crepnia with lid, or wok with a large, flat-bottomed stainless-steel bowl turned upside down (bowl should be same circumference as wok).
  4. When fire has died down, shovel embers off to sides of pizza oven or grill. Place crepnia in pizza oven or nestle down in grill. Shovel embers on top and around crepnia, then close lid of grill, if using. Cook until rabbit and potatoes are tender and brown and juices have thickened and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven or grill and set aside to rest, still covered, for about 10 minutes before serving.