Braised Rabbit with Prunes & Wine

February 18, 2009

First catch your rabbit.
~Isabella Beeton

As a food, rabbit is much too often misunderstood and shunned. Rabbit is lean, fine grained, mild flavored, and highly nutritious—a source of quality protein but lower in fat, uric acid, cholestoral, sodium and calories than many other meats. Chicken can be substituted should you have a phobia about devouring these furry friends.

This braising method produces a supremely gentrified and succulent dish that goes well with new or mashed potatoes. The recipe is replete with instances of the Maillard reaction…browning, browning, everywhere.


1-3 lb rabbit, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 8 pieces, reserving innards
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb bacon, cut into cubes
20 cippolini or pearl onions, peeled

2 T flour
2 C dry red wine
1 C chicken stock
2 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme

2 C large pitted prunes (or unpitted)
1/4 C sugar
3 T apple cider vinegar

Chop the reserved innards (usually heart and liver, sometimes kidneys) very finely into almost a paste. Sauté the bacon in a heavy, large Dutch oven or pot until crispy. Pour all of the liquid fat into a heavy skillet. Add the onions to the skillet on medium high heat and brown all around; then add onions to bacon in pot.

Season the rabbit with salt and pepper. In the used skillet, add some olive oil and working in batches, brown the rabbit on both sides—approximately 4-5 minutes per side on medium high heat; then add to the pot. Mix the flour with 1/2 of the wine and add to the pot. Pour in the remaining wine, stock, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, and chopped innard paste and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about one hour. Add the prunes and simmer 10 minutes more.

Combine the wine vinegar and the sugar in a saucepan and cook on high heat until it caramelizes. Pour this mixture directly into the braising rabbit olio and stir gently. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serve with a French burgundy or pinot noir from California or Oregon.


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