Rabbit Pasta with Green Olives, Fennel, and Preserved Lemons

Some people don’t like generalizations, but, well…that’s a generalization too, isn’t it? However, you sometimes need to paint a picture in broad strokes. And differences which are specific to certain cultures are interesting, which is why many of us travel, to experience them. (It’s also what makes us all delightfully different.) Most don’t come out of thin air, and often contain a kernel of truth, although I’ve heard some doozies from people in various corners of the world about their perceptions of others.

One generalization that I’ve experienced, which has been confirmed by other Americans who have French partners or spouses, is that we’ve had things said to use that are rather…abrupt, or would be considered borderline insultant back in the States. If you read L’Appart, you may recall dear Romain saying to me probably the worst thing that you can say to a man, whereas I thought the obstetrician did a pretty good job with what he had to work with down there, and I’ve never had any other complaints from partners. But his best friend is half French, half American, so he sort of grew up experiencing some of our good aspects, and some of our…uh, eccentricities, so I can just laugh that stuff off.

Well, most of the time.

If you have something less-complimentary to say, each culture has words that “soften the blow” of landing a punch, such as when we don’t like our food in the U.S. we tell the waiter the meal was “Okay.” In France, telling someone you don’t like something isn’t considered an insult but means you’re discerning, which turns into some sort of a compliment to yourself.

In France, there are a few French words that are rather nebulous, such as if you say someone is spécial or original, as happened to me one morning a few years back when we were staying at a friend’s house in the country. And as someone who hates getting dressed in the morning, the first morning I came down to breakfast wearing a black t-shirt and red checkered flannel pajama bottoms. Another guest was already nicely dressed, drinking her tea at the table. Without missing a beat, she noted that my intriguing fashion choice was “Très original.”

Fortunately, I have years of blogging under my belt (and I worked in restaurant kitchens most of my life), so nothing really bothers, upsets, or surprises me anymore, although when I told Romain I quoted him in my book he was surprised I wrote about that particular incident. But he wasn’t bothered by it, naturally.

We’ve become good friends with the woman who told me my pjs were original, and she made dinner for us the other night and served this pasta. Someone at the table said, what could be construed as a generalization: “Americans don’t like to eat rabbit,” which there is indeed some truth to. But I recalled a few years back when I was dining with a group of friends who were Swiss, Italian, French, and French/American, and everyone expressed squeamishness about eating rabbit, except for me, the lone américain.

In France rabbit has somewhat fallen out of favor. I used to see whole lapins with the fur still on them hanging from the butcher stalls at the market, with foil covering their heads, as people didn’t like seeing them. Rumor has it that to this day, whole rabbits are sold with the heads attached because during wartime, when food was very scarce, people resorted to eating cats, and other animals. And no one wants to mistake one for the other. We all strive to have open minds, but I’m not keen on eating everything that’s edible. I know people eat bats, grubs, whales, and squid, but I’ll take a pass. Even though I like it, I’ve never bought rabbit, so figured it was time to tackle and overcome that stereotype about Americans.

The original recipe comes from Hélène Darroze, one of the most popular chefs in France and owns several Michelin-starred restaurants, and appeared in an article called Les recettes chics et cheap d’Hélène Darroze. Interestingly, the rabbit cost me €16 and the pasta costs me €4.95. When I made the Spicy Mushroom Lasagne, people – including me – pointed out the cost for the mix of wild and dried mushrooms the recipe called for, which was roughly the same amount of money for a dish that feeds six people. So what some people consider expensive (€18-20, about $25, for rabbit vs. mushrooms) others consider cheap.

Rabbit has a mild flavor and is particularly good braised. Its meat is delicate and tender and its environmental impact is very low, and rabbits aren’t raised en masse like chicken or beef are. Rabbit is lean, nutritious, and high in protein.

The mafaldine (sometimes called mafalda, or as they call it in France, malfadines), for this recipe may require a trip to an Italian specialty food store or a search online. There are Italian food shops in every neighborhood in Paris but none near me had it, so I went to Eataly, which did. (Update: A week later I saw it at my local Carrefour supermarket, made by Barilla.) It resembles mini ribbons of lasagna and has a lot of ruffles and surface area, so picks up sauces well, but if you can’t get it, Chef Darroze recommends tagliatellis, although closer would be fettucini. However since neither has little ridges that would catch the sauce, I might suggest Farfalle, bow-tie pasta.

While the ingredients sound a little random, they work together perfectly and I absolutely love this pasta. If you’re new to rabbit this is the perfect place to try it. The little bits of salty preserved lemons and green olives add some contrast to the juicy pieces of rabbit, and the rosemary in the background offers up the soft anise flavor of fennel. Grated Parmesan over the top is obligatory and you can drink whatever you want with it, but you can’t go wrong with a nice glass of Chablis, although if you want to be a bit original, a cellar-temperature Beaujolais or Brouilly would be an intriguing choice.

Rabbit Pasta with Green Olives, Fennel, and Preserved Lemons

The original recipe called for duck fat, which I used, but you could use olive oil to brown the rabbit and the vegetables. But probably the biggest question you have is: "What can I use in place of the rabbit?" The best swap out are chicken thighs, with the leg and the thigh attached. I used picholine olives, which are easy to get in France but you can use whatever green olives you can get. (Maybe skip the ones stuffed with pimentos, though, and save them for your Martinis.) You can make your own preserved lemons, although they can be found in shops that sell ingredients for Middle Eastern and North African cooking, which is what I used this time around. They have a special flavor that's hard to replicate with other ingredients.
Piment d'Espelette is a relatively mild red pepper powder from the Basque region. A close approximation is sweet paprika but you could use another red pepper powder that's not very spicy to season the dish.
This pasta works well if you have a Dutch oven and a large pot; one to braise the rabbit and vegetables in, which you can later use to return the shredded rabbit and vegetables to, and the other cook the pasta in. In Step #5, following Chef Darroze's advice to cover the rabbit meat and vegetables to "keep them warm," it seemed like a long time to "keep something warm," as my pasta took nearly 15 minutes to cook. So after draining the pasta, I quickly rewarmed everything together with a small splash of the reserved pasta cooking water. (Which you can save for reheating leftovers the next day.)
I explained in the recipe how I did it, and what worked for me but you can wrangle things a bit, or resort to Système D, as they say in French, which means you use your own ingenuity to make it work for you.
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings
  • 4 large rabbit thighs, leg and thigh portions (mine were about 2-pounds, 900g)
  • kosher or sea salt
  • piment d'Espelette, or sweet paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced (not too thinly)
  • 1 bulb fresh fennel, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4-6 branches fresh rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1 preserved lemon peel, diced (insides scooped out and discarded)
  • 30 green olives, pitted and chopped (1 cup, 115g pitted weight)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound (450g) mafaldi pasta, (see headnote)
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Preheat the oven to 300ºF (150ºC.)
  • Season the rabbit thighs with salt, piment d'Espelette or paprika, and black pepper. Heat the duck fat or olive oil in a Dutch oven that (hopefully) will fit them in a single layer, without crowding. (Otherwise you can brown them in a large skillet or in two batches, then add them to the pot later.) Add the thighs to the pot and let brown well on one side before turning them over and browning them on the other side. It'll take a total of 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove the thighs from the pot and add the onions, carrots, fennel and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the aromatic vegetables are cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. If necessary, add a bit more duck fat or olive oil if the vegetables are burning. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the rabbit thighs back to the pot along with the rosemary, bay leaves, and water. Cover and braise in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the rabbit is very tender.
  • Remove the bay leaves and any thick rosemary twigs. (I don't mind the rosemary leaves, which remain a little chewy, but you can pluck those out, too if you want.) Place the rabbit thighs in a bowl or dinner plate and when cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the bones. Strain the cooking liquid into a small saucepan and add the cooked vegetables back to the pot along with the shredded rabbit. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook the pasta in.
  • Add the olives and preserved lemons to the small saucepan of cooking liquid and heat until simmering. Turn off heat, let steep a few minutes then stir in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Scrape the olive and lemon mixture into the pot of vegetables and rabbit and cover them to keep warm.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water cook the pasta until done, as indicated on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water, about 1/2 cup (125ml).
  • Add the hot pasta to the pot with the rabbit, vegetables, olives, lemons, and sauce. Mix everything together well. If you want or need to warm it up, do so over medium heat. (If you want it more saucy, add a dash of the reserved pasta water.) Stir to warm everything through before serving. Serve with Parmesan cheese for guests to grate over their pasta.

Notes

Note: This recipe makes quite a bit and if you'd like the cut the recipe in half, at the end of step 4, you can freeze half of the braised rabbit, stock, vegetables, olive, and preserved lemon mixture and use it another time. If you do that, use half the amount of pasta per batch. 

Rabbit Pasta with Green Olives, Fennel, and Preserved Lemons

69 comments

  • June 16, 2021 2:25pm

    I see you’re not getting much response to this post, but I for one am glad to see an interesting rabbit recipe.

    I learned about raising and eating rabbit from a neighbor of ours. I love chicken livers, but rabbit livers are much much better! You just have to hoard them in the freezer till you get enough for dinner.

    Rabbits make great broth for soup and the meat is good for pot pie, rabbit & dumplings and things like that. In other words, it’s a good substitution for chicken. Of course in the South, it’s mainly fried rabbit. When I get a few projects out of the way, I plan to raise them myself. We already have chickens, but mainly for the eggs. 8 yolk ice cream recipes hold no terror for me! Reply

    • June 16, 2021 2:38pm
      David Lebovitz

      It was interesting because I took an informal poll on Instagram and 80% of the people said it was fine to post the picture of the rabbit (uncooked). I figured it wouldn’t be an issue as most people are used to seeing chicken, beef, etc. but it’s common to see it in France, but perhaps not elsewhere. Rabbit livers are excellent as well. They sell those in France, too – so no need to hoard! ; ) Reply

  • June 16, 2021 2:26pm

    As an American, I love rabbit! I haven’t sever seen it in groceries here in Utah so have never cooked it myself, but have been able to order it out at a few restaurants here, and always look forward to traveling to Italy or France so that I can enjoy it more readily! Thanks for the recipe – it looks delicious and I’ll try it out if I ever come across rabbit here! Reply

    • Anna
      June 17, 2021 6:17am

      I’ve never seen rabbit in stores either, but lots of places to order online (though a bit $$ for me). One actually fairly local to me is Iowa Rabbit. Reply

    • Meg
      June 17, 2021 7:07am

      Here in Philadelphia you can get rabbit at the Reading Terminal (Farmers) Market from Godshall’s Poultry. Is rabbit sold by poulterers in other places besides Phila.? Reply

  • Stephen Johnson
    June 16, 2021 2:33pm

    As a chef and hunter, I’ve eaten wild rabbit since I was old enough to hunt with my grandfather. I’ve eaten a few tame rabbits along the way, especially Lapin Moutarde. As a lover of fennel and tart green olives, I cannot wait to experiment with your recipe. Thank you for publishing it Reply

  • Ginette Bisaillon
    June 16, 2021 3:08pm

    Back in the 70’s I introduced a lot of Anglo-Canadians to rabbit in my French restaurant and I never had a complaint. Rabbit is available in thec smallgine Québec town where I now live so I will try your recipe, but what I want to know today is where can I get some of those pasta plates? Reply

    • June 16, 2021 3:20pm
      David Lebovitz

      at a flea market! : ) Reply

  • Sally
    June 16, 2021 3:09pm

    This looks delicious, although I am vegetarian and would never consider eating rabbit. My grandmother raised rabbits and killed and skinned them to feed her family. It was quite commonplace to eat rabbit during the Great Depression and that was in California. Reply

  • June 16, 2021 3:12pm

    I am an American and I live in Italy. Rabbit is a staple on our table. Almost always braised. I also bought rabbit when I lived in the states. Much more expensive there than here. I love rabbit ragu here so I look forward to trying this one. Particularly with the olives and preserved lemons! Reply

  • Karen Smith
    June 16, 2021 3:15pm

    I love rabbit, have ordered it many times in restaurants, in Italy and Asheville, NC. I have also bought it from local growers and prepared it myself. Reply

  • Lee
    June 16, 2021 3:16pm

    I absolutely love rabbit. I don’t understand why it’s not more popular. Thank you for this. Reply

    • Renniegirl
      June 17, 2021 11:25pm

      Love Rabbit – it’s delicious and tender if cooked right! Bon appetite!!! Reply

  • Rebecca
    June 16, 2021 3:18pm

    In Minnesota, our “original” is “interesting.” As in, “You wore your pjs to breakfast? Interesting.” Reply

  • Chandler in Las vegas
    June 16, 2021 3:25pm

    Stunning! Reply

  • Tom Wilson
    June 16, 2021 3:30pm

    David….I love rabbit when visiting France, but where can I find decent rabbit in the US? All I can find at best is frozen and expensive rabbit from China. Reply

    • June 16, 2021 3:40pm
      David Lebovitz

      I can’t say where they’d be available locally in the U.S. but I know D’Artagnan has them. But check your local butcher and if they don’t have them, perhaps they can order them for you. Reply

  • rootlesscosmo
    June 16, 2021 3:37pm

    Fennel and prserved lemon–attractive idea, I’ll try it next time. I buy rabbits from the excellent Devil’s Gulch Farm in Nicasio, California (West Marin County). They’re very easy to break down–even easier than a chicken–and while the forequarters are bony and hard to eat, they make terrific stock, which I incorporate into a red wine braise with the usual aromatics, plus a few dried porcini mshroms which add flavor and produce a very good-looking dark sauce. Reply

  • Bridget
    June 16, 2021 4:02pm

    This sounds fantastic.
    I spent some time in a mountainous Italian village and assisted in the rabbit prepping day, which falls monthly on the second Tuesday, right after the Monday chicken day, before the Wednesday pepper roasting. A very precise regimen is upheld.
    The heads and offal were eagerly awaited by the village cats and dogs – nothing was wasted. Reply

  • Tatiana
    June 16, 2021 4:39pm

    This sounds delicious! I wonder if I can just tell my husband it’s chicken, because if I say it’s rabbit he won’t even try it. And is that 900g for each rabbit leg or 900g total for all four? Reply

    • June 16, 2021 5:06pm
      David Lebovitz

      It’s for all four – those would be huge rabbits if each one was that big! ;) Reply

      • Ruth breil
        July 29, 2021 1:36pm

        Loved everything from pastries to rabbit in NYC try Union Square Market ( we’d. My fav day, though big thissummer sat. Walk around until I hit the upstate meat bins w chicken and even rabbits prepared for cooking! It’s not quite 8 am in the apple so I can only think breakfast… Love u David:)) Reply

  • Ellen
    June 16, 2021 4:58pm

    David, how does one eat the mafaldine? It seems like you don’t break it up, but aren’t the pieces rather long for wrapping around a utensil? Reply

    • June 16, 2021 5:06pm
      David Lebovitz

      The mafaldini my friend served was about as long as spaghetti, I believe, but the one I bought was larger…like, a lot larger. So think it may be an anomoly. You can wrap it around a fork and twirl it although I ended up cutting it with the side of the fork. In other words – Système D!

      There is something called mafalda corta which is short lengths of the same pasta. Reply

  • Alene
    June 16, 2021 5:00pm

    There was a wonderful Italian restaurant in the basement of a building near Dupont Circle in Washington DC in the 1970’s through the 1980’s called Cantina d’Italia. We had there the best rabbit dish, stewed in red wine, that I never forgot! After that meal, I was a fan of rabbit forever. Reply

  • rootlesscosmo
    June 16, 2021 5:09pm

    Mardell McCombs: I agree about the rabbit livers. The ones from Devil’s Gulch arrive with the livers and kidneys in place, and the livers make terrific mousse–I like it even more than duck. I’ve never figured out what to do with the kidneys, though, which are rubbery and fairly rank-smelling (I’m a fan of veal and lamb kidnes but rabbit are funkier) so I give them to a neighbor for her dog, who’s less fussy. (Well, he’s a dog.) Reply

  • Laura L
    June 16, 2021 5:17pm

    This sounds delicious! I am American and I like rabbit, but it’s difficult to find around here (more so than Mafalda)… keeping my eye out. Reply

  • Karen
    June 16, 2021 5:41pm

    In ’64, during a summer in Bretagne via a study program, my family had rabbit with prunes one evening. It was delicious, even after they managed to explain “lapin” to me. And then there was the octopus one evening. . . ! Your recipe brings back fond memories–and may send me into my rural Maine backyard to catch that rabbit that is driving our German shepherd crazy with nightly appearances :) Merci, David! Reply

  • Jennifer Ruddy
    June 16, 2021 7:19pm

    I’ve been the lone rabbit ‘orderer’ (or even better hare) at the table… for all the reasons you’ve listed – while lean, it carries flavours like green olives so well – it loves other good fat flavours. It’s delicious. As for others, I’ve come to accept the looks of horror and shock at the table. I waive them off and smile – their loss. ;) Reply

  • Lynn Beaumont
    June 16, 2021 7:19pm

    We are big fans of rabbit here. This sounds like a great recipe. One question, with the preserved lemon, do you discard the insides and just use the peel? I’ve always been confused about how to use those lemons. Love your stories! Reply

    • June 17, 2021 9:36am
      David Lebovitz

      Check further down in response to another comment about this :) Reply

  • rainey
    June 16, 2021 7:24pm

    Loved hearing your story about lapin being sold in the market place. When I lived in France after college in the 70s I can well remember whole lapin hanging in the butcher’s window, their heads very much in evidence but one foot still bearing its fur.

    The story I heard then was similar to yours and, in the 70s, WWII and those food shortages were still a very present memory. They told me that the furry paw spoke to the authenticity of the meat, raton being the suspected alternative. And having once encountered a rabbit skull in a stew I can well appreciate how they could be interchanged!

    I’ve since associated that paw with its pelt with the idea of a rabbit’s paw being lucky. Lucky, I suppose, for the person enjoying their meal in confidence. Certainly not for the rabbit in question. In any case, there would have been lots of those paws to put to good use somehow…

    I really like rabbit as well. My problem back in the States is 1) availability and 2) complete ingnorace about butchering and preparing it.

    My availability problem may be somewhat relieved. There are, at present, a number of rabbits living in my yard and eating my garden. If I could master the butchery part I’d eat well for a good while I suspect. …and probably pick more produce. Reply

  • E E Deere,
    June 16, 2021 8:20pm

    David, this recipe looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it. I have some Meyer lemons to preserve too.
    My parents were raised on ranches in the West during the Depression. Once, my father was asked if he liked rabbit. He looked slightly ill as he said no. It turned out that rural Americans ate a lot of rabbit, either raised at home or wild, during the Depression. We never once had it while I was growing up.
    I wonder if there was a generational black out on rabbit. Reply

  • Jan
    June 16, 2021 9:37pm

    This is exceedingly silly: when I read rabbit pasta, I pictured the very small rabbit-shaped pasta (or is it cookies?) made for children. I did do a double take on why YOU would use this ingredient. Truly. (I was mostly excited to see a recipe for 2 things on hand, fennel and preserved lemons. I made my own and haven’t used them yet.) When I reached the part about eating rabbit, I realized what you were talking about. I’m embarrassed to admit it. I’ve never eaten rabbit, though I probably would if served it. I do like squid, especially deep-fried with the crunchy tentacles. However, I refuse to eat octopus after reading “The Soul of an Octopus”. Today I’ll pick up green olives and chicken to make this recipe. (I hope no one ever writes a book about the soul of squid.) Reply

    • Meg
      June 17, 2021 1:40am

      I completely agree. I LOVE grilled octopus but can’t bear to eat it after reading that wonderful book. Reply

    • Gloria Urban
      June 17, 2021 11:31am

      I so agree about not eating octopus ! I believe those animals are smarter than I am. Reply

  • June 16, 2021 10:27pm

    David, please tell your stereotype-enbracing friends that a good 2/3 of Americans like and feast regularly on rabbit…to wit, the south, the west, the northern prairie and lots of European- and South-Americans in other parts.
    Let’s not forget all the cultures that make up ‘American’ (as rather insular do).
    I will send you my old recipe for rabbit with pappardelle when I find it. Reply

    • June 17, 2021 9:34am
      David Lebovitz

      The good thing about the European Union is that it’s a good way to explain America; We are a big mass of people from different states and people in all the states vary and differ. So while people often say “Europeans like…” it’s natural I suppose to say “Americans like…” There’s a joke going around the internet that if you’re writing about something, no matter what you say, someone will point out that’s not true in every single case. It’s a fair point but at some point, you have to realize and embrace that writers have to make generalizations. Reply

  • Lynn
    June 16, 2021 11:27pm

    Hi David. Looking forward to trying this. I understand, traditionally, the interior fruit of the preserved lemon is discarded and only the rind is used (although the interior is great in certain applications). Just for additional clarification, In your ingredient list, you mention to scoop out the interior and chop the rind. Are we meant to discard the interior, or would you like that added in as well. Thanks for your direction. Best, Lynn Reply

    • June 17, 2021 9:35am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, you discard the interior and traditionally only the rind is used. (Although sometimes I press it through a strainer and use the juice, although not here – but you could!) I edited the ingredient list to make it clearer. Let me know how you like the pasta! Reply

  • Marcia
    June 17, 2021 12:02am

    Bunnies are available under my front
    Hedge,and I will not
    be eating them.
    I have enjoyed eating rabbit in France.
    They are different, Right? Reply

    • moi
      June 17, 2021 7:49pm

      No, a rabbit is a rabbit is a rabbit Reply

  • Cynthia
    June 17, 2021 12:41am

    I first ate rabbit in a restaurant in the Alto Adige region of Italy – so delicious! Rabbit farming is being developed in countries such as Haiti – where land is limited – to create industry as well as restore the soil. A fascinating topic to read about… Reply

  • Mel
    June 17, 2021 10:03am

    You don’t eat squid?? This truly surprises me! Reply

  • Gloria
    June 17, 2021 11:44am

    Thank you for this recipe. I believe I’ll try it with skinless chicken thighs.
    Out of curiosity I bought preserved lemons … and a tagine, last year. Sadly, both remain unused.
    But I see this recipe as an opportunity to try the lemons.. at last. I’ve purchased that extra long, wavy pasta here on the US east coast… under its Italian name, which I’ve forgotten. I’m pretty sure it was at a Graul’s Market on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. And I’ve seen it at NYC’s Eataly also.
    Finally ready to cook rabbits are not hard to find in Lancaster County, PA. Some Amish farms have hand written signs offering rabbits live or “dressed”. Back when they were quite young, my daughters assumed the dressed ones were decked out in aprons and Amish bonnets…I had to explain the facts! Reply

  • Howard M Chase
    June 17, 2021 2:34pm

    Rabbit and black mushrooms Reply

  • Pete McNesbitt
    June 17, 2021 4:06pm

    Here in the upper midwest when I’m purchasing rabbit in the store it often is labeled as coming from China. And with China’s track record on exporting food that hasn’t been adulterated in some fashion it always makes me a little leery of purchasing.

    On the other hand getting rabbits from friends occasionally requires me to dig out buckshot.. Reply

  • Alison, Confirmed Robe-ist
    June 17, 2021 5:38pm

    My mother often made rabbit dishes when we were kids (cacciatore is the one I remember the most). I didn’t care for it, not because bunnies, but because (to me, at least) rabbit meat is too much like chicken dark meat, and I’m strictly a white meat gal, or was. My husband loves rabbit, though, and who doesn’t love a good braise with pasta and fennel and preserved lemons and olives? Reply

  • moi
    June 17, 2021 7:56pm

    Having grown up in France, rabbit was just another meat on the table. When I moved to Canada and was told that rabbits were pets and not food, I honestly thought that they were pulling my leg. They were not!
    I still make rabbit on occasion, usually with a red or white wine braise with mushrooms. I’m quite tempted to try your somewhat Mediterranean version. Thank you for sharing. Reply

    • Carol S-B
      June 19, 2021 5:14am

      Also from Canada– YYC. I do love rabbit. One of the best recently (and I hope you have a chance to try it!) is at Banff AB, the bistro @ Juniper. They serve a lovely Eggs Benedict featuring braised rabbit, bannock and saskatoons. As we re-open with Covid precautions, please come West. Reply

  • Carolyn McCord
    June 17, 2021 10:56pm

    Funnily enough, in the 1990’s my first and deliciously memorable taste of rabbit was at a tiny French restaurant in Scotland, and it was braised in Mexican Mole sauce! Reply

  • Jo
    June 18, 2021 12:52pm

    This recipe looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it with some wild rabbit I have in the freezer.
    Mum used to call it four-legged chicken to spare any squeamish feelings.
    Unfortunately, even though they are a pest here in Australia, rabbit is difficult to find and expensive when you do, more than $30 each!
    I’m lucky to have a relative who brings me wild rabbits occasionally and I delight in each one because health issues mean he’s not going to be able to do this for much longer. Reply

    • Diane
      June 19, 2021 8:47am

      Yes, its riciculous when they are ubiquitous and a pest. I suspect its because of the myxamatosis and calicivirus; people worry about wild rabbits although my mother’s family trapped them during the depression. I’ve only ever seen farmed rabbit and that takes some finding – usually specialty butchers that sell ‘roo, venison etc. I like it too Reply

      • Jo
        June 21, 2021 1:47am

        Apparently rabbits seem to be building up an immunity to these viruses.
        I’ve heard it’s also because of the cost of bringing them to market. Several years ago, there was a person who sold dressed wild rabbts at the local farmers’ markets, but after taking the costs of travel and fuel, ammunition, licenses, etc. into account, he was barely making enough for it to be worthwhile.
        He also couldn’t sell the offal – mainly livers and kidneys – though he was very careful to check for diseases and parasites. Rabbit livers, fried in butter, are an absolute treat! Reply

  • Jackie
    June 19, 2021 4:00am

    I ordered rabbit and mashed potatoes in a Seattle restaurant about 15 years ago. I thought is was cute that they stuck two endive leaves upright in the mashed potatoes to mimic rabbit ears. The vegetarian at the table did not. Reply

    • Jo
      June 21, 2021 1:49am

      That’s wonderful! Reply

  • mimi
    June 19, 2021 9:45pm

    This recipe sounds excellent and I can’t wait to make this as soon as it cools down a bit in LA.

    Perhaps owning to my having lived only in cities with sizable and thriving immigrant cultures, I’ve never had a problem purchasing fresh rabbits (literally butchered after placing the order) at Latinx butcher shops and plenty of frozen ones at larger Chinese grocers like 99 Ranch. Reply

  • Carol
    June 19, 2021 11:37pm

    Thank you for the recipe. We made this and it is delicious. Reply

  • tim
    June 20, 2021 12:50am

    David, just talked to my niece and your book is now required reading in her French class.
    Maybe in the fall you can do a question and answer about for her class? Reply

  • Liz C
    June 20, 2021 11:05am

    I’ve lived in France nearly 15 years and my kids have grown up eating rabbit – it’s a relatively inexpensive meat and our butcher always has it. I never had a rabbit as a child so I’m not bothered about eating them. We always make it either à la moutarde or chasseur, so I’m interested to try something else especially as this recipe is based on ingredients we usually already have in. Thanks! Reply

  • Sheila
    June 21, 2021 2:02am

    Yum, this sounds excellent, thank you for sharing! I cooked my first rabbit earlier this year – the Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragù and Peaches from Marc Vetri’s Mastering Pasta – and look forward to trying this one as well. It’s such a sustainable meat and I can buy at the local farmers market here in SoCal. The heart and liver are the perfect cook’s treat. A little scared of the kidneys Any ideas there? Reply

  • Mike Quear
    June 21, 2021 3:51am

    Made this for a dinner party this evening. Everyone “licked the platter clean”. Thanx for a hittin’ it out of the ballpark recipe Reply

  • Monicak
    June 23, 2021 2:56pm

    I remember eating rabbit stew at a French brasserie in NYC awhile ago and remember thinking how lean and flavorless with so much little bones and so little meat. I’d love to give another try in France next time I am there.
    One of my favorite French series called Murder in….featured rabbit mustard sauce and have been dreaming about visiting the mountain region in France. Reply

  • Erin
    June 28, 2021 2:36pm

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! One of the most delicious things I have ever eaten was rabbit cooked with olives that had been cured with fennel and orange. The olives are hard to come by (although as I write that I realize I could make them) but this looks similar to the flavor profile that I remember so fondly, just deconstructed. I look forward to trying it. Reply

  • Kathleen
    July 12, 2021 2:43am

    This was delicious. We got our rabbit from D’Artagnan, but when we went to our Farmer’s Market today in Shepherstown WV one of the vendors finally had rabbit! I also bought some basil so we can make your basil vinaigrette! Reply

  • July 14, 2021 3:56pm

    Absolutely amazing receipt Reply

  • Courtney
    July 19, 2021 1:19am

    I made with chicken thighs, but accidentally bought boneless, skinless and wasn’t sure how to braise with them. I tried 25 min at 300F, but the meat was a bit rubbery. Also only had rather mushy olives. Even with these pitfalls, this was wonderful! Can’t wait to make it again properly. Reply

    • July 20, 2021 10:27am
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked it! Chicken thighs are good but you’re right that the ones on the bone are more tender. Reply

  • Klara
    July 25, 2021 4:13pm

    I wish I could find rabbit meat regularly (not by chance while traveling), this ragú was delicious. I doubled the amount of onion, carrot and fennel and it was the right amount for us. When we eat the second part later in the week I will also prepare a vegetable side dish, something like broccoli or green beans, I was missing some extra vegetables. Reply

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