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Italian braised rabbit

Italian braised rabbit
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Rabbits "are helping win the war," proclaimed a Los Angeles Times article from 1943. Touted as a patriotic food during World War II, rabbits were raised by thousands of Americans in their backyards. Along with victory gardens, rabbits helped put ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours, 15 minutes | Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 rabbits
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 10 juniper berries, crushed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced root to stalk
  • 1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 to 6 cloves roasted or preserved garlic
  • Salt
  • 10 to 20 green olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Step 1Cut the rabbits into serving pieces. Save the stray bones in the pelvis, ribs, belly flaps and neck for the stock.

Step 2Make a quick rabbit stock: Place all of the rabbit pieces — not just the stray ones — into a pot and cover them with cool water by about one-half inch. Bring this to a boil, then remove from heat. Skim off any sludgy stuff that floats to the top. Fish out all the good pieces of rabbit — legs and saddle — and put them in a bowl in the refrigerator. Add the bay leaves, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, juniper berries (if using) and cracked black peppercorns to the pot. Return everything to a bare simmer and cook for 1 hour. Strain, discarding the solids, and set aside. You will need 1 cup rabbit stock to complete the recipe; any remainder can be covered and refrigerated for up to five days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Step 3In a heavy, lidded pot, such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the sliced onion and cook until soft and translucent. Do not brown them. Add the white wine, 1 cup of the stock, the rabbit pieces from the refrigerator, the thyme and the garlic. Bring to a simmer and add 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Step 4Finish the dish by adding the green olives and fresh parsley. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and serve.

Note: Adapted from a recipe on Hank Shaw's food blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. Shaw recommends serving the rabbit "with mashed potatoes, white polenta or rice. A green thing alongside is always nice, too."


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