Unusually for the Italian countryside, we are lucky enough to live in an area of Divieto di Caccia, or a no-hunting zone here in Italy. This means that there are plenty of happy hare and rabbit bouncing around in our fields at dawn and dusk and no hunters and dogs trampling through the forest. The markets on the other hand are full of fresh game and cute as they are, I can never resist a fresh rabbit to make a Farmhouse Rabbit Stew.
I didn’t grow up eating rabbit, but I was introduced to it by my dear friend Max Kreijn, a wonderful host and cook, who every year produced a sumptuous rabbit feast around Christmas. It is terrific for people who are new to game meat, as it is simple to cook and gently flavoured.
I like to make a simple country style rabbit stew or casserole with classic flavours, rosemary, thyme, garlic and bay, with bacon and wine rounding out the sauce. Served with creamy mashed potatoes, this is a warming and comforting meal, though you could remove the bones and use it as a pie filling like in the famous children’s song.
Depending on the size and age of your rabbit or hare, you may find that it needs a longer cooking time. I start checking at around an hour – when the rabbit is perfectly cooked the meat will come easily away from the bone.
Have you tried rabbit before? What’s your favourite recipe? Let me know in the comments below. xJ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use frozen rabbit to make this Farmhouse Rabbit Stew?
Yes, defrost overnight in the fridge, then continue as per the recipe.
Can I make this stew without the wine? I don’t drink alcohol!
Absolutely! Replace the wine with stock and a splash of vinegar to replace the acidity of the wine.
What should I serve with my Farmhouse Rabbit Stew?
I like to serve it with plenty of creamy mashed potatoes, but any of the usual sides will be fine. If you thicken the sauce a little and shred the rabbit from the bones it makes an excellent pasta sauce with fresh pappardelle.
FARMHOUSE RABBIT STEW
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 large carrots, sliced thickly
- 3 large onions, in wedges
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 3 Tbsp plain flour
- ca. 1.25 kg rabbit, jointed into 8 pieces
- 25g butter
- 100g bacon, cubed
- 200ml white wine
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp Herbes de Provence
- a sprig of rosemary
- 3 bay leaves
- sea salt and black pepper
- Heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions and carrots gently for 10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, cook for a minute longer, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Pat the rabbit pieces dry with a paper towel, season well with salt and pepper then dust with the flour. Melt the butter in a heavy-based casserole or dutch oven, add the rabbit and the bacon to the pan then brown the rabbit well on all sides. When the rabbit is well-browned remove from the pan and set aside.
- Pour the wine into the pan with 100ml water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned on flavour on the bottom of the pan. Stir through the tomatoes, herbs and bay leaves, bring to a simmer, then add the softened vegetables. Lay the rabbit pieces on top, nestling them in so that they are partially covered. Season well with sea salt and black pepper.
- Cover the casserole with a tightly fitting lid, then cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check to see that the rabbit is coming away from the bone, then serve with creamy mashed potatoes. If the rabbit is not tender (this will depend on whether it was wild or farmed) you may need to cook it for a little longer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 889Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 253mgSodium: 666mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 88g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.