2 carrots, cut in thick batons, about 10cm/4in in length
2 celery sticks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, halved lengthways
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole allspice
1-2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp tomato puree (paste) diluted in 2 cups water
1 kilo small, pickling-size onions, peeled
1 tbs sugar
salt and ground black pepper
Mix together the wine and vinegar in a shallow dish that is large enough to hold the rabbit joints in a single layer. Add the bay leaves and rabbit, turning to coat them in the mixture. Marinate for 4-6 hours, preferably overnight, turning the pieces over at least once.
Lift the rabbit joints out of the marinade and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Reserve the marinade. Coat the pieces of rabbit lightly with the flour.
Heat half of the oil in a large heavy frying pan and add the pieces of rabbit. Fry them, turning the pieces occasionally, until they are lightly browned on both sides, then place them in a flameproof casserole.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Add the carrots and celery to the oil remaining in the frying pan.
Saute the vegetables over a gentle heat for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic. As soon as it becomes aromatic, add the contents of the pan to the rabbit joints in the casserole.
Place the casserole over a medium heat. Pour in the reserved marinade and let the wine bubble and evaporate. Add the spices, rosemary and the tomato puree mixture, cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and add the small onions. They must be in a single layer, so fry them in batches if necessary. Fry them until they start to turn light golden, shaking the pan and turning them over occasionally. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over them, shake the pan, then let them brown and caramelise for 5-6 minutes more. Set aside.
When the rabbit has cooked for an hour, spread the caramelised onions on top and add enough hot water to almost cover them. Cover the casserole, return it to the oven and cook for one more hour. Serve on warm plates, garnished with fresh rosemary.