Simple Rabbit Stew Recipe

Have you ever tried rabbit? While rabbit is one of those meats that used to be a staple back in pioneer days when hunting was the way to put meat on the table, it's not that easy to come by in modern times. These days, large-scale bunny farming is not something that too many ranchers engage in. (The best-known Bunny Ranch, the one in Nevada, is actually not in the business of supplying rabbit meat at all, go figure.) There are some small-scale producers, however, so rabbit is now considered to be more of a specialty meat and could even be considered somewhat of a delicacy.

Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone says that she had eaten rabbit a few times before coming up with this dish, but had never tried cooking it herself until now. "Rabbit," she tells us, "can vary based on how you get it ... In general, if you get it from a producer, the texture is basically the same as chicken, but I find rabbit to [have] a flavor that is richer and stronger than chicken."

Gather the ingredients for this simple rabbit stew

The first hurdle you'll have to clear before making this stew is acquiring your rabbit. If you have a .22 rifle and live out in the country, you could always take a DIY approach. If you live in a more urban area, however, you may need to go another route. Rapone says she got her rabbit from Wegmans -– the one in her area is something she describes as, "a foodie paradise for ingredients." If your own supermarket is less paradisaical though, she says that most butchers should be able to order it if you call and make a request. You could also order it yourself from an online butcher and cut out the middleman.

The rest of the ingredients won't be so tough to get. You'll need bacon and some vegetables: mushrooms, carrots, celery, a yellow onion, garlic, and some fresh thyme. You'll also need Dijon mustard, red wine (Rapone uses Cabernet Sauvignon), chicken stock, flour for dredging, and capers to finish things off.

Prepare the produce and the meat

As this recipe has a lot of ingredients, there will be a significant amount of prep work involved, but nothing too difficult. Start by peeling and chopping the carrots and onion, mincing the garlic, and simply chopping the celery (without peeling it). Rinse any dirt off the mushrooms, and chop those too. Tie the thyme sprigs together using either twine or one of the sprigs. Rinse the capers and pat them dry with a paper towel, and you're done with the produce.

Now mix the flour with 1 teaspoon of salt (Rapone uses kosher) and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Season the rabbit with 1 more teaspoon of salt, then dredge the salted rabbit pieces in the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess flour and set the rabbit aside.

Fry the bacon, capers, and mushrooms

Chop the bacon into small pieces and fry it over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. Bear in mind that this is the pot you'll be using to make the entire stew -– while this recipe has multiple steps, it actually is a one-pot dish. When the bacon is almost crispy, remove it from the pan but leave the grease.

Fry the capers in the bacon grease until they're crisp and beginning to burst, then drain them on a paper towel. While the capers are draining, pour all but 1 tablespoon of grease into a bowl. Fry the mushrooms in that tablespoon of grease along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook them until they have released their moisture and it has all evaporated. By that point, the mushrooms will have shrunk to about ⅓ of their original size. Remove the mushrooms and set them aside.

Cook the rabbit and the rest of the veggies

Remember that bacon grease you poured into a bowl a bit earlier? Measure 2 tablespoons of the stuff into the pan you've been using and heat it until it is hot. (Don't allow it to start smoking, though.) Fry the rabbit pieces in the grease for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, so they'll cook for 6 to 8 minutes in all. If your pan isn't large enough, you may need to do your browning in batches.

Once all of the rabbit is browned, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Put the onions, carrots, and celery in the pan with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook them until they are tender and the onions are translucent, stirring from time to time. It should take about 5 to 7 minutes until they are done. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Simmer the stew in a red wine sauce until done

Stir the mustard into the vegetables, then add the red wine. Cook the vegetables, stirring and scraping all the browned bits up off the bottom until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the rabbit back to the pot along with the mushrooms, bacon, thyme, chicken stock, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Cover the pot with a lid and increase the heat to bring the stew to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat back down to a simmer and partially uncover the pot. Cook the stew for 90 minutes, then serve it topped with capers. If you have no capers, you can skip these of course, but in Rapone's opinion, "The capers bring a brightness to the dish that is missing otherwise, and since rabbit is rich, it's definitely needed." She does say, though, that as an alternative, "You could also use a splash of red wine vinegar at the end of cooking to add some brightness."

If you don't want to serve the rabbit in pieces, you can always pull the cooked meat out, let it cool a bit, then shred it before stirring it back into the stew. Rapone suggests serving this rabbit stew with crusty bread and dry red wine, which she says will, "make this a perfect meal."

Simple Rabbit Stew Recipe
5 from 46 ratings
Explore something new with this rich and satisfying rabbit stew. While you might be less familiar with rabbit, this classic stew recipe will become a favorite.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
2.08
hours
Servings
6
Servings
Rabbit stew with capers
Total time: 2.25 hours
Ingredients
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 rabbit, about 3 pounds, cut into 6 pieces
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
Directions
  1. Wash and chop the carrots, celery, and onion, and mince the garlic.
  2. Rinse the mushrooms and slice them.
  3. Tie the thyme sprigs together with twine or with one of the sprigs.
  4. Rinse the capers and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  5. Combine the flour with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.
  6. Season the rabbit with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  7. Dredge the rabbit pieces in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess, and set it aside.
  8. Chop the bacon into small pieces.
  9. Fry the bacon in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until almost crispy, stirring frequently.
  10. Remove the bacon, leaving the grease in the pan.
  11. Add the capers to the bacon grease and fry them, stirring, until they're crisp and starting to burst.
  12. Remove the capers from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate and set them aside.
  13. Pour the bacon grease into a bowl.
  14. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon grease back into the pot, and add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  15. Cook the mushrooms, stirring every couple of minutes until they've given off their moisture and it has evaporated completely.
  16. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside.
  17. Add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease back into the pan and let it get hot, but not smoking.
  18. Add the rabbit pieces to the bacon grease and brown them on each side for 3 to 4 minutes.
  19. Remove the rabbit from the pan and set it aside.
  20. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan with ½ teaspoon of salt.
  21. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they're tender and the onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
  22. Stir the garlic into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute.
  23. Stir the mustard into the vegetables.
  24. Add the red wine to the vegetables and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until it has reduced by half.
  25. Add the rabbit, mushrooms, bacon, thyme bundle, chicken stock, and ½ teaspoon black pepper to the pot and stir.
  26. Cover the rabbit stew with a lid, and increase the heat to bring the stew to a boil.
  27. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 90 minutes.
  28. Serve the stew topped with the capers.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 605
Total Fat 26.7 g
Saturated Fat 8.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 153.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.1 g
Dietary Fiber 3.0 g
Total Sugars 7.0 g
Sodium 1,424.6 mg
Protein 57.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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