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Herb Roasted Rabbit and Potatoes

4 lbs. rabbit, cut into 8 pieces, rinsed and patted dry
8 med. red potatoes, quartered
24 lg. cloves garlic
6 T. olive oil
4 oz. slab bacon, rind removed and cut into 1" cubes
6 T. fresh rosemary leaves OR 2 T. dried rosemary
2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
coarse salt, to taste, optional
6 sprigs rosemary, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400.

Place the potatoes and garlic cloves in a lg. shallow roasting pan.
Sprinkle with 1 T. of the olive oil, and toss to coat. Bake for 30

While the potatoes and garlic are roasting, combine the bacon and 2 T. of the oil in a lg. skillet, and place over low heat. Cook just until the bacon begins to wilt. Then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and set it aside.

Saute the rabbit, in batches if necessary, in the skillet, setting the pieces aside as they are browned. Reserve 2 T. of the pan drippings.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, and reduce the heat to 350.

Add the rabbit, rosemary, pepper, coarse salt, reserved pan drippings, and remaining 3 T. oil to the roasting pan with the potatoes and garlic. Toss thoroughly, and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 mins.

Sprinkle the reserved bacon over the top, and bake until the meat is tender and the vegetables are golden, another 20 mins.

Arrange the mixture on a warmed platter, and garnish with the rosemary sprigs.

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