Rabbit Cacciatore

Rabbit Cacciatore! With Easter on the way, I know all of you with last minute dinner plans need a recipe fast! And I should know, because I’m one of the most amazing procrastinators out there. 

So today and tomorrow, I’ll be posting Easter-inspired recipes to motivate you to make something great, not only for this holiday meal, but for dinner parties and other holiday meals down the road! 

What’s more perfect for Easter than rabbit? I know ham tends to be served most commonly, but consider adding rabbit to your holiday repertoire! Rabbit is a great protein choice because it’s lower in fat and has less calories than chicken, beef, or pork. And since it’s Spring, and we’re still working on staying in shape this time of year, I think that a lighter Easter dinner is in order.

I know you may be wondering what rabbit tastes like. Have no fear! Rabbit is even tastier than chicken in my opinion. It’s not gamey at all, the texture has a smoother mouthfeel than chicken, and it’s packed with flavor that I could compare to the yummiest chicken breast I’ve ever eaten, but even yummier

Two other great things about rabbit is that it’s inexpensive and is a sustainable protein! I’m guessing there’s a ranch, or a butcher, or farmer’s market vendor out there that sells it near you. And while you will certainly save a few dollars, your impact on the environment will be reduced as well. This is because rabbits produce more meat per pound of feed consumed compared to cows. 1 pound of rabbit meat = 4 pounds of feed, while 1 pound of beef requires 7 pounds of meat. Enough said!

But aside from the seriousness, this recipe for Rabbit Cacciatore is really, really good. Adrian and I haven’t eaten rabbit since we traveled to Greece several years ago, where it is a little more mainstream. We loved it then, especially with a gorgeous view of Aegean sea at the restaurant, and were eager to make it again. 

This was definitely the best dish we could have chosen! What’s great about this recipe is that it’s as delicious as it looks. The tomatoes, bell peppers, and salt-cured olives really came together to make something special. We lightly adapted a Rabbit Cacciatore recipe from Elise Bauer’s post on Simply Recipes. Her first experience with rabbit totally cracked Adrian and I up. You should totally read her post, but in short, her experience was ultimately a good one, but she had to pick out and meet the cute little guys first without knowing what would be on the table later that day. Oh, those kinds of life experiences are always fun!

Do Note: if you buy a bone-in rabbit, be sure to check out some YouTube videos on how to debone it. It’s not hard, but you’re going to want to portion your pieces of rabbit right!

Okiedokie, it’s time to stop gabbing for the procrastinators! Get to the store and start shopping!

Rabbit Cacciatore

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 6

3 lbs whole rabbit, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped, divided
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded, chopped
3 large vine ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
16 salt-cured olives, black or green, pitted

On a large plate or platter, season rabbit pieces with salt, pepper, and 4 tsp thyme. Sprinkle flour over rabbit pieces and rub to lightly coat.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add rabbit pieces, and let panfry without moving for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned on one side. Flip rabbit pieces over and cook for another two minutes, until browned. Transfer rabbit to a plate and keep warm.

Add onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to medium and stir in mushrooms, bell peppers, rosemary, and remaining thyme. Return rabbit to the pan and cover with the tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low heat. Let simmer for 35 minutes.

Uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add olives and cook until the liquids in the pan have reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on plates with warm rolls, or may favorite, epi bread!