Italian Rabbit Stew

                                                           "Mad Dog"Charles Gargotta

3 pounds rabbit, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
2 onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
6 cups water
4 cups red wine
4 medium-sized potatoes, diced
1/2 cup sliced sautéed mushrooms
Using 3/4 cup flour, coat the pieces of rabbit, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottom saucepan. Brown the floured rabbit on all sides. Add the celery, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, bay leaves, water, red wine, mustard, and tomato paste. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low. Cover and stew for about 2 hours or until meat is tender. Add the potatoes 45 minutes into the stewing process. Once the rabbit and all the vegetables are cooked, use a small amount of water to form a paste with the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Stir the flour mixture into the pot as a thickener. Add the already sautéed mushrooms to the stew and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings,