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Herb Roasted Rabbit and Potatoes

4 lb Rabbit [cut into 8 pieces, rinsed & patted dry]
8 md Red potatoes [quartered]
24 lg Cloves garlic
6 tb Olive oil
4 oz Slab bacon, [rind removed & cut into 1" cubes]
6 tb Fresh rosemary leaves OR 2 tb Dried rosemary
2 ts Coarsely ground black pepper
Coarse salt, to taste (optional)
6 Sprigs rosemary, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Place the potatoes and garlic cloves in a large shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and toss to coat. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the potatoes and garlic are roasting, combine the bacon and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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