A Rabbit for the Pot

rabbit for the pot

As you may have deduced from my last post, currently we have a plentiful supply of rabbit meat. Perhaps a little too plentiful when we’re eating it every day. Many of my friends are aghast that we eat rabbits. I’m not sure if it’s because they think of rabbits as cute, furry pets or as inedible vermin. Whichever, it seems a little irrational to shun a lean, free-range meat like wild rabbit.

If you can get hold of some wild rabbit, then I urge you to give it a try. There are plenty of places online to buy as well as butchers and some supermarkets. I like to make a few jars of confit of rabbit, potted rabbit and rabbit liver pate (using a recipe for chicken liver pate). Mostly, I use the jointed rabbits to make casseroles, pies and curries or strip the meat from the bones and mince it with bacon or belly pork to make meatballs. There are plenty of recipes around for rabbit though I find that wild rabbits often need a longer cooking time than that given for farmed rabbit.


potted rabbit recipe

Two of my favourite rabbit recipes are Delia Smith’s Old English Rabbit Pie and Roasted Wild Rabbit and Bacon. Rabbit also makes a good curry and I often use it to replace the chicken in Anjum Anand’s Black Pepper Chicken recipe in her Indian Every Day book, though I put it in a slow oven for at least two hours rather than simmer for a short while on the hob.

Mostly though I cook my Store Cupboard Game recipe, which also works well with venison and hare. This is one of those adaptable recipes where you use what’s to hand. Add a few cubes of bacon or ham or squeeze in some tomato puree. A couple of squares of dark chocolate give a little oomph or replace the herbs with spices and add some chickpeas to bring out different flavours.

Store Cupboard Rabbit Casserole

still life with rabbit and vegetables

Joint your rabbit and cut the back into two pieces or three if the rabbit is large.

Heat a large knob of butter in an ovenproof pan and fry a sliced onion (with chopped garlic, celery and carrots if available) until softened.

Add the rabbit joints and cook for five or ten minutes until they’re lightly browned.

Stir in 60ml vermouth (or 125ml of wine), a can of tomatoes and enough water (or stock) to almost cover the rabbit.

Add a scattering of thyme leaves (or dried oregano), a grinding of salt and pepper, cover with the lid and put into a low oven (150C) for at least three hours by which time the meat will be falling off the bones.

When the cooking time is up, lift the meat and vegetables onto a serving dish (discarding any loose bone) and boil the liquid on the hotplate until reduced and thickened.


36 thoughts on “A Rabbit for the Pot

  1. Small pies, commercial puff pastry on top is great for rabbit; bacon bones added to cooking pot add depth of flavour. Good for environment that you use them.

    1. Will have to make some small pies – they sound a little lighter than DS rabbit pie with suet pastry. I guess I could freeze the untopped pies and then just roll out the pastry as and when I needed them.

  2. You make cooking and eating wild rabbit sound delicious. And not only is it lean and free range in your case, it’s free so yes it would be strange to turn up one’s nose at eating it! I just don’t like rabbit sadly – I think it’s all the bones in part so may be your potted rabbit is the way to go. I am afraid if I’m honest there is also a piece about being reluctant to get my rabbit from the still life condition of your beautiful photo to “oven ready” under my own steam. I’m sure such squeamishness has no place in your kitchen but I haven’t quite got over it in mine. I know – a bad admission and I do hang my head in shame! Do you tackle squirrel in the same way? Again it’s supposed to be delicious and I remember Clarissa Dickson-Wright once singing its praises but I have not tried it. E x

    1. I must admit that Bill does the skinning – it’s one of those jobs that I’ve deliberately not learnt. If you can get a rabbit, do try the confit as the meat just slides off the bones, which I agee are rather tiresome.
      I’ve never cooked squirrel because I always think of them as rats with bushy tails, which makes them rather unenticing. Maybe one day.

  3. You go Mrs McGregor, you good thing. 🙂 My Pete won’t eat rabbit and the last time I tried to cut one up, it looked like it had been axe-murdered. I do like the sound of that potted rabbit though – lovely tender confit is always a particular weakness of mine! xxx

    1. I used to pass it off to the children as chicken but now they’re happy to eat it. Rabbit confit is one of my favourites and it’s a good way to store it as it’s so easy to cook.

  4. I have never cooked (or even eaten!) rabbit – it’s just not in my cooking repertoire, which sounds a bit silly considering how plentiful and nutritious it probably is. I’ll have a chat with my local butcher. Thanks for the recipes.

  5. Not for me (pescatarian these days, but strictly vegetarian for 17 years). My Beardy husband, however, would happily eat rabbits if they were attacking our veg, or deer, or roadkill probably. I’m sure he’s eaten squirrel. He is a vegetarian 95% of the time, but will eat meat if it’s genuinely free range!

  6. I applaud those who cull rabbits here, we have plague in numbers destroying vast areas.
    I can’t abide the taste though, I’ve tried loads of different recipes and methods of cooking but I think it comes down to the fact I just don’t like anything gamey. “Thank ya mum for the rabbits!”

    1. I wonder if rabbit taste different according to what they eat? Ours don’t taste very gamey so I wonder if it’s because they’re fat and content on wheat?

  7. I used to get wild rabbit really cheap from a local butcher but he has since got wise and charges the earth for it. I used to make rabbit stifado, it was delicious.

    1. Sounds a bit like pork belly. Nobody wanted to buy our pork belly until a couple of TV chefs started to use it. Now butchers and restaurants charge a fortune for it.
      Have just checked out a rabbit stifado recipe – definitely one to try.

  8. We really enjoy eating rabbit and in Spain often get given gifts of wild rabbit. Here we have to buy it though! Had never thought of using it in a curry, am going to give it a go as I have the same recipe book and enjoy that particular curry.

    1. It’s good to be able to live off the land, but I’d rather there weren’t any rabbits. Beginning to get just a little fed up with rabbit every day; thank goodness we’re going out for supper tonight.

  9. Thank you, Anne, for these recipes! I don’t eat rabbit often, just never think about it really. But when I do, I really enjoy it.

  10. Looks good Anne. We occasionally eat wild rabbit if they happen to be in the wrong place at the right time! Last winter we smoked a whole rabbit, the meat was delicious. Waste not, want not was something Dad always used to tell us when we were young. I am sure you would agree with this old saying.

    1. I certainly do agree with that 🙂 I suspect it’s something of a farming mentatlity (espcially judging by some of the stuff that accumalates in our sheds). Smoked rabbit sounds delicious.

  11. I wish I liked rabbit – don’t know if it is the taste or the bones – but it’s not something that makes me go yum. Great source of food for you, though!

  12. Wild Rabbit must be so much healthier than what is in our supermarket meats these days.. I’m curious to try now .. thanks for the recipe 😀

  13. Love my rabbit, I make them in so many ways, I do the back straps as tenderloins for cubing up into rabbit stew meat, I love the front legs cut in half and I give the wee front bit to the soup pot or the hounds and the nice meaty portion is made into breaded and cooked rabbit “wings”, I like to take the back legs and treat them just like chicken leg in many ways but hubby can tell by the bones if its rabbit, so most of the time I bake them off, pull the meat off and use it afterwards..

    I have not had wild rabbit for a many years but we raise rabbit for our own use for that past 13 years this spring, one of the very first things I got for the farm, two expecting does and a nice buck within the first month of arriving on our farm..

    I have 12 or so recipes for rabbit on the recipe page of my blog if you want to try it in a few new ways but I must share my favorite way to do rabbit pot pie with you 🙂


    1. Lots of ideas! Thank you. I use the backs as tenderloins too and have also found it best to pull the meat off, though I never manage to get rid of all the bones. Thanks for the link.

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