Rabbit, especially wild rabbit, is a flavourful and nutritious meat option, and as rabbits breed like, well, rabbits, it’s also a sustainable meat choice for carnivores. The flavour is deep and gamey, and this can be a little off-putting to some. But, with this recipe as your introduction, you’ll soon see why it’s been popular for hundreds of years.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 75 mins
Total Time: 1h30 mins
1 x 1+kg/3 to 3.5lb Rabbit, jointed into 6-8 pieces, at room temperature
65g/2Tbsp Plain flour
65ml/2Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
4 large shallots, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
200 gr/7 oz pitted d’Agen prunes
Several sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper for seasoning
On a plate, or in a plastic bag, add the flour and some salt and pepper, shake thoroughly to combine. Once mixed, add the rabbit pieces, and shake again to thoroughly coat all the surface area of the rabbit.
In a medium-sized Dutch oven, and over medium heat, warm the oil and when hot, add in the butter. Continue to heat until the butter begins to froth. When bubbling, carefully lower the rabbit pieces into the oil and butter, and cook on each side until golden in colour, about 7-10-minutes.
You may need to do this in batches, as it’s better not to crowd the pan or the rabbit will sweat, not fry.
Once all the rabbit pieces are cooked off, remove them to a plate, and cover to keep warm.
Reheat the pan to a medium-high heat, add in the garlic and shallots, and cook until the shallots become translucent – but not browned!
Once sweated through, heat for a few minutes until HOT, then add in the wine, and allow it to reduce down while you stir to dislodge any stuck on bits – the nice brown bits that make a sauce packed with flavour.
Reduce the wine to around half its original volume, then add the stock and bring to the boil. When boiling, arrange the rabbit pieces in the liquid, preferably in a single layer or slightly jumbled up, and add in the prunes and herbs, as well as a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pop the lid on, and simmer over a low heat, a small burner on low is ideal, for around 45-minutes, or until the rabbit is tender. A good way to identify this is when the leg bones stick out and have no meat on the ends, and the bone threatens to fall out.
To serve, check that the rabbit is tender, carefully remove the rabbit pieces from the pan, use a slotted spoon if you have one, and cover to keep warm.
Arrange the rabbit over mashed potatoes, polenta or semolina, or steamed rice, scatter the prunes on top, and carefully ladle the sauce over the whole lot, then garnish with a nice sprig of parsley. A side of green peas go down a treat too.
If your sauce is a bit thin, you can boil, or ‘reduce’, it down until it’s thicker, or use cornflour/cornstarch to thicken. For an extra luxurious finish, you can also whisk in a dollop of creme fraiche, just be sure to lift the prunes out first!
Kit Smyth is a retired chef with a passion for French cuisine. Originally from Australia, Kit is dedicated to exploring both old and new ingredients, techniques and styles, and developing recipes for home cooks, she also teaches these recipes online and in-person. Find out more at her website: TheBiteLine