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Category: Herb

Braised Rabbit with Mushrooms, Shallots, and Fresh Herbs

Lean, mild rabbit pairs well with savory vegetables and fresh herbs. This easy, one-skillet meal is full of flavor and very inviting. And it's low in fat.

Traditional game meat such as rabbit is becoming more popular on the tables of non-vegetarians who want to enjoy both meat and a light, healthy diet. Rabbit is leaner than red meat and poultry, and it has a mild flavor often compared to chicken.

Most rabbit you find in markets today is farm-raised and may be sold whole-dressed or in pieces—usually just the legs, which contain the bulk of the meat. If you buy a whole rabbit, ask your butcher to cut it into serving pieces or cut it up yourself into drums, thighs, and loin and breast halves.

Brining Option for Braised Rabbit

Lean, sinewy meats like rabbit benefit from brining before being cooked, but it's not necessary in this recipe since the pieces are small and braising tenderizes them. Braising the meat slowly brings out its juiciness and helps break down its firm, muscular texture.

If you choose to brine the rabbit, simply dissolve 1/3 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of sugar in about 12 cups of water in a large bowl. Throw in some peppercorns, dried chiles, a bay leaf, or other aromatics, if you like. Place the rabbit in the brine and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Braised Rabbit with Mushrooms and Shallots


(serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 3-lb. rabbit, cut into 8-9 serving pieces
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. crimini or button mushrooms, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 lg. shallots, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 lg. garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as a mixture of rosemary, basil, oregano, and Italian parsley, plus more for garnishing
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the rabbit pieces and season with salt and pepper. Sear 5 minutes on one side, then turn and sear 5 minutes on the other, until the rabbit begins to brown.
  2. Remove the rabbit to a plate. Do not wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add the mushrooms, shallots, and garlic to the skillet and saute 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and most of the liquid from the mushrooms is absorbed.
  4. Return the rabbit and any accumulated juices to the skillet and add the wine and broth. Re-season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Bring to a slight simmer, then reduce the heat to low and stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs.
  6. Cover and braise 45 minutes, turning about halfway through, until the rabbit is tender and juicy. Remove the bay leaf.
  7. Serve the rabbit and vegetables with pan juices spooned on top and sprinkled with additional fresh herbs.

Propagating Herbs From Cuttings

Many people will either increase the amount of herbs in their herb garden by either dividing existing herbs, buying new seedlings, or starting their herbs from seeds that they have either collected or purchased.  Not all herbs are easily divided, however.  Rosemary and lavender can be rather difficult, for instance.  Buying new seedlings can be rather costly if you are looking for a lot of different herbs.  Finally, starting herbs from seeds can be a rather tricky undertaking.  Many herbs just take too long to germinate; and some herbs, like rosemary, might germinate and then again might not.  There are also other herbs, such as sage, that do not always grow true from seed. Another method of propagation that you can use that is really not that difficult is by taking soft stem cuttings and rooting them.

Step 1:  Select a healthy plant from which you wish to take your cutting.

Step 2:  Cut a section from a stem tip 5-6 inches long.  You should make the cut on a slant right below a leaf node.

Step 3:  Strip away the leaves from the bottom of the cutting.  Also remove any flowers and/or seeds.

Step 4:  Dip the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone.

Step 5:  Stick the end of the cutting in a moist potting soil.

Step 6:  Place a clear plastic over the cutting making a dome.  (The plastic helps to reduce evaporation and creates a mini greenhouse.)

Step 7:  Set the cutting(s) in a warm, bright area.

Step 8:  Check the cuttings every 2 weeks.  (Most cuttings will take root within 2-3 weeks, but times can vary for different herbs.)  Spritz well with water using a spray bottle if the soil begins to dry out.

Step 9:  Transplant your cuttings into a larger pot (about 3 inches) once the roots have developed (about one-inch long).

Step 10:  When the roots begin to poke out of the bottom of the 3-inch pot, you can safely transplant your herb(s) into the garden.


  • Herbs that respond well to this method of propagation include:  lavender, rosemary, scented geranium, and sage.
  • If you are unsure whether your cutting is developing a root system, just give it a slight tug.  If it resists, then roots are forming.  Do this about 2 weeks after placing in the potting mix.  (Also you might notice new growth forming.  Another sure sign that your cuttings are taking root.)


  • Most soft tip cuttings can be taken in the early spring; however, check the information for particular herbs.  For example, soft tip cuttings can be taken from sage in the late spring or early summer.  (I must be honest, however, I take cuttings whenever the spirit moves me.)

Growing Herbs in Extremely Small Spaces

My husband and I would be at a loss in the kitchen or at the grill if we did not have fresh herbs. Fortunately we have plenty of room for a nice-sized herb garden. Such, however, is not always the case for many people. You might live in an apartment or in a house that sits on a rather small plot of land. If such is the case, you need not despair. You can grow quite a few herbs by going up with your plantings, and I do not mean hanging plants.

You will need a small area that gets a decent amount of sun during the day. (Most herbs originated in the Mediterranean regions of the world, where they get lots of sun and heat.) You really, however, only need a small area on your deck or porch for this method of growing herbs.

First, you will need a very large pot – about 16-20 inches in diameter and 13-17 inches tall. (You can, of course, choose larger or smaller containers.) I generally recommend plastic pots for this purpose. They are cheaper and also lighter in weight.

Filling such a large pot can take quite a bit of potting soil; however, you can save on the amount of soil you have to use by doing what I do in every container I have for my plants. Take crumbled old newspapers or even paper from your shredder and fill the pot with this at least halfway. The paper acts as lightweight filler, which will also decay over time. This means that you will not have to use as much potting soil and that the pot will be lighter, making it easier to move if necessary. (The crumpled and/or shredded paper also helps to promote drainage.) After you have filled this large pot with paper and potting soil, you need to move to the next pot.

Your second pot should be a bit smaller than the first. This pot is going to be placed in the middle of the first; therefore, you want to have enough room around the base of the second pot to plant herbs in the first. Fill this pot in the same way that you did the first. You can then add a third pot on top of the second. In fact, you can build up your pots as tall as you like, using as many different pots as you want. Just make sure that the edifice is sturdy.

Once you have built your castle of pots, you can start planting your herbs. I like to use a lot of perennial herbs, such as thyme, oregano, sage, and chives. You can, however, mix perennials and such annuals as basil and biennials such as parsley. You want to make sure, though, that you put herbs that grow tall or tend to spread quite a bit in your larger pots near the bottom of your structure and the shorter growing herbs, such as thyme, near the top. (You do …