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Rabbit Stew

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5 from 23 votes

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This easy rabbit stew is one of my favorite rabbit recipes! You can use a whole rabbit or just the legs. Serve it over a bed of mashed potatoes with a slice of crusty bread.

Why You’ll Love This Rabbit Stew

  • Cozy. This rustic rabbit stew is old fashioned comfort food at its finest. The meat is cooked until it falls off the bone and is incredible spooned over a bed of creamy homemade mashed potatoes.
  • Flexible. You can use a whole rabbit or just the legs. If you don’t have rabbit on hand, you can also make this recipe with chicken breast or chicken thighs.
  • Flavorful. I absolutely recommend serving this with thick slices of crusty bread so that you can soak up every bite of this stew!

Why Cook Rabbit?

I grew up eating game meats like rabbit, elk and venison. If you have never tried rabbit let me tell you, you’re missing out. It’s an ancient game meat and is healthier than many other types of meat with more protein and fewer calories per pound.

Rabbit is also one of the most environmentally friendly meats you can eat. According to Modern Farmer one “rabbit can produce six pounds of meat on the same amount of feed and water it takes a cow to produce just one pound.” This means that rabbits have a smaller carbon footprint.

Also? Rabbit is delicious.

Two bowls filled with rabbit stew with mashed potatoes and a slice of bread

What Does Rabbit Taste Like?

Rabbit looks and tastes a lot like chicken. Rabbit meat will soak up the flavors of your recipe, so it’s an excellent meat for flavorful stews like this one. All in all, rabbit is good eating!

Where Do You Get It?

Very few of us raise meat rabbits these days. I don’t. Much as I love the idea of having a bunny farm I also have three large dogs who would never leave those poor bunnies alone. So, where does one get a rabbit to eat? Here are my favorite sources:

  • Local hunters. If you live in a rural area like I do, odds are there will be hunters who catch rabbit. Make friends! I usually get a few rabbits and some venison from a friend of mine who hunts local game. I trade baked goods, garden produce or freezer meals for the meat depending on the time of year.
  • Local bunny farm. We have a rabbit farm nearby that sells the meat. You might have one nearby too!
  • Non Chain Grocery Stores. We also have a small, locally owned grocery store with a “specialty meat” freezer. They stock rabbit, elk, venison and other game meats sold by hunters with the appropriate licenses.
  • Order Online. I have only done this once, when I really wanted to make rabbit and there was none to be found locally. I ordered a whole rabbit from Fossil Farms and it got here in a couple days, perfectly packaged and still frozen. They also sell just the hind legs but those are fairly expensive so I prefer to purchase the entire rabbit.

How Do You Butcher a Rabbit?

Unless you are able to find the hind legs sold separately, odds are you will need to purchase and break down a whole rabbit. Here is how to do it:

If you have chickens, you can boil the rib cage until the meat is cooked, then feed it to your hens. My girls love this and the protein is great for them. Sound strange? Don’t forget, chickens are the closest living relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex!

How to Make Rabbit Stew

Ready to cook up a tasty rabbit stew? Here’s how to do it:

  • Break down the rabbit. If using a whole rabbit the first thing you’re going to do is butcher it. Divide the rabbit into 5-6 smaller pieces. I usually cut off the legs, then remove the rib cage and divide the saddle. A sharp butchers knife works best for this. See the video above for a visual.
  • Fry the rabbit. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry the rabbit pieces on both sides, just until golden.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Onions, garlic and butter in a pot with some flour.
  • Cook the onion and garlic. In a soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Make the roux. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When it has melted add the flour and stir it in with the onions and garlic, cooking about a minute. 
  • Add broth, herbs and veggies. Add the vegetable broth, tomato sauce, red wine, potatoes, carrots, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Rabbit stew being assembled in a dutch oven
  • Add the rabbit pieces. Nestle them at the bottom of the pot so that they are covered by the liquid.
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook on low or medium-low heat for 1 hour 30 minutes. The temperature will vary according to your stove, you want the heat just high enough to keep the stew at a steady simmer.
  • Stir, adjust liquid if needed. Stir the stew a couple times during the cooking time. If the liquid reduces too rapidly, add vegetable broth 1/2 a cup at a time. You want the rabbit to be just covered by the liquid.
  • Simmer for 30 more min. Remove the cover and add the last tablespoon of butter, stirring until it has melted. Simmer an additional 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced and has a thicker, more stew-like texture. The rabbit meat is done when it flakes off the bone when you test it with a fork.
  • Adjust seasonings. Taste the stew and add salt/pepper as needed.
A bowl filled with rabbit stew with mashed potatoes and a slice of bread

Variation Ideas

This rabbit stew is very easy to make and can be modified to use the veggies you have on hand.

  • Use different veggies. I usually go for potatoes and carrots, but if I have them around peeled and chopped parsnips are also lovely. You can also add diced celery with the onions, chopped butternut squash, or use sweet potato instead of regular potatoes.
  • Leave out the veggies: You can also forgo the potatoes and carrots so make a more rabbit focused stew. I sometimes do this when I’m already making another side and want to cut down on prep time a bit. I would not leave out the onions or garlic as those add a lot of flavor to the stew.

Serving Suggestions

Oh there are so many ways to serve this succulent rabbit stew! My top combos are:

  • Mashed potatoes: This stew is incredible spooned over a bed of homemade mashed potatoes.
  • Crusty bread. I feel like a thick slice of crusty bread is pretty essential with this recipe. The bread is perfect for sopping up the stew juices.
  • Popovers. A couple fluffy, homemade popovers are amazing with this stew!
  • Biscuits. We love buttermilk biscuits or cathead biscuits with rabbit.
  • Red wine. This recipe used red wine to add flavor and depth to the stew. My advice is to use a wine you also like to drink, because then you can also pour yourself a glass.

How to Store and Reheat Extras

  • Fridge: Let your stew cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Spoon cooled stew into airtight, freezer safe containers. Leave at least one inch of space at the top so the stew has room to expand as it freezes. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • To reheat:. Add your stew to an appropriately sized pot and warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired temperature. Or reheat single servings in the microwave. Just zap until heated, stirring halfway through.

More Game Meat Recipes

Rabbit Stew Recipe

5 from 23 votes
This rustic rabbit stew can be served with tender potatoes, roasted carrots or spooned over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. Just add a slice of crusty bread and a glass of wine!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 rabbit hind legs, or 1 whole rabbit
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 can can tomato sauce, 8-oz
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (or 4-6 small carrots peeled and added whole)
  • ½ teaspoon dry sage
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dry parsley
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • If using a whole rabbit: divide the rabbit into 5-6 smaller pieces. I usually cut off the legs, then remove the rib cage and divide the saddle. A sharp butchers knife works best for this. See the video in my post for a visual.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry the rabbit pieces on both sides, just until golden.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • In a soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When it has melted add the flour and stir it in with the onions and garlic, cooking about a minute. 
  • Add the vegetable broth, tomato sauce, red wine, potatoes, carrots, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Add the rabbit pieces and nestle them at the bottom of the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook on low or medium-low heat for 1 hour 30 minutes. The temperature will vary according to your stove, you want the heat just high enough to keep the stew at a steady simmer.
  • Stir the stew a couple times during the cooking time. If the liquid reduces too rapidly, add vegetable broth 1/2 a cup at a time. You want the rabbit to be just covered by the liquid.
  • Remove the cover and add the last tablespoon of butter, stirring until it has melted. Simmer an additional 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced and has a thicker, more stew-like texture. The rabbit meat is done when it flakes off the bone when you test it with a fork.
  • Taste the stew and add salt/pepper as needed. Serve.
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Nutrition

Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 1904mg | Potassium: 1416mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 6487IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 4mg
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I have never cooked rabbit in my life. I made this recipe with fresh hare out the back brush ( I live in the country). My family loved it, and the said it had no game taste, but more of a chicken. It was delicious.5 stars

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      So happy to hear you and your family enjoyed it! We love this rabbit recipe too. The meat gets so fall-off-the-bone tender and with a bed of mashed potatoes? Fughettabout it. 🙂

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      So glad to hear it! Thank you for coming back to let me know you’re loving it. 🙂

  2. I have made this dish twice thus far. Excellent results. I varied the veggies each time. Sweet peas really accented the flavor.5 stars

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      Love the addition of sweet peas. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you for coming back to let me know! 🙂

  3. Miriam Rawney

    Hi. Just bought a rabbit. It came with the entrails. Any suggestions on how to cook them?

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      No suggestions, my apologies! Usually my chickens would take care of innards, they are incredible little food processors. They would even pick our Thanksgiving turkey carcasses clean!

  4. Used this recipe last night, first time cooking and eating rabbit. Took some over to family and it was delicious. The dish wash empty. Restaurant quality. No game taste. Rabbit very tender.5 stars

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      So happy you enjoyed this rabbit recipe! Thank you for coming back to tell me. 🙂

  5. Linda Webb

    You don’t have to sear in the juice of the rabbit first? We’ve always browned it on both sides first or we’ve discovered it’s tough.

  6. Im finishing the recipe in the oven. Best way to make sure meat is very fall off the bone tender?

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      I haven’t made this recipe in the oven so I don’t have direct experience with this. When it cooks on the stovetop, the rabbit needs to be submerged in the liquid so as long as you make sure the rabbit isn’t exposed it should work out. I would definitely cover it and monitor the amount of liquid, same as for the stovetop directions.

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it and thank you for letting me know. 🙂