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
- 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
- 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.
- Remove the rabbit to a plate. Do not wipe out the skillet.
- 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.
- Return the rabbit and any accumulated juices to the skillet and add the wine and broth. Re-season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Bring to a slight simmer, then reduce the heat to low and stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs.
- Cover and braise 45 minutes, turning about halfway through, until the rabbit is tender and juicy. Remove the bay leaf.
- Serve the rabbit and vegetables with pan juices spooned on top and sprinkled with additional fresh herbs.