Pot-roasted rabbit with rosemary, thyme, sage and lemon

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I have mentioned before on this blog that I am a big fan of rabbit but it appears not many others are.  If you have never tasted it, you should try it and, if you had wild rabbit as a kid and didn’t like it, give the farmed rabbits a go.  Farmed rabbits are much milder than wild rabbits.  You cannot get wild rabbits in Perth anymore because of the myxoma and calici viruses.   Farmed rabbits, however, are readily available from butchers, though they are, invariably, frozen.

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s first book, The Naked Chef.   Rabbit is, normally, braised but in this recipe, it is pot-roasted quickly so I thought I would give it a go for something different.  We really enjoyed it.  Maus is not a big fan of rabbit (as I have mentioned before, she is a fussy bugger) but will happily eat the farmed ones.  If I can’t convince you to give rabbit a try, the recipe would work equally well for chicken Marylands (leg and thigh portion with skin on).

The dish is started on the cooktop and then goes in the oven so make sure you use a pan that is suitable for both.

The first thing you need to do is cut up your rabbit.  It is a bit harder to do than a chicken.  I used a cleaver and a hammer – position the cleaver where you want the cut and give it a whack with the hammer.  The rabbit should be cut into 4 leg portions and 4 saddle portions.

Serves 4.

  • 1 rabbit, cut into 8 pieces.
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 heaped tbs* chopped rosemary
  • 1 heaped tbs* chopped thyme (or a generous tsp of dry thyme)
  • olive oil
  • about 3 tbs* butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large glass of white wine (I am not certain how much this is but I used about 175 mils)

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.

  1. Peel the lemon, roughly chop the peel and set aside.
  2. Squeeze the lemon and drizzle the juice over the rabbit pieces.
  3. Season the pieces generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the rosemary and thyme over the rabbit.
  5. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  6. Heat some olive oil in a baking dish, add the rabbit pieces and any loose rosemary and thyme and fry them over a high heat for about 5 minutes or until the rabbit is golden brown.  About halfway through, add the lemon zest,  a tablespoon of butter and the sage leaves.
  7. Add the garlic and fry for another minute to soften but not colour.
  8. Add the white wine – let it sizzle for a minute or so.
  9. Put the dish in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  10. Remove pan from the oven.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir it through the juices.
  11. Served with baked vegetables.  Drizzle the juices over the rabbit.

18 thoughts on “Pot-roasted rabbit with rosemary, thyme, sage and lemon

  1. Hi, I’ve been eating rabbit all my life, I live in East Devon so there are lots of wild rabbit around here.
    Sometimes a neighbour who often went shooting would give one to my mum, and my dad occasionally brought one home that he picked up on his way home from work. YES, ROAD KILL!
    I usually make a stew or casserole with them, just onion, carrot maybe some sweede and seasoning.
    I have tried using Kreik Bier (Cherry Beer) for a Belgian style recipie but I need a bit more practice at that one as I didn’t reduce the beer enough so the sauce/gravy was too thin.
    Anyway I must go, I’ve got a rabbit in the fridge that I knocked down last night that needs cooking. I was still up at 12:30am skinning and prepairing the rabbit before I went to bed.

    • Hi Nick, I too have been eating rabbit all my life. My dad used to go out in the bush and shoot them. He would sell the excess to local butchers. Those days are long gone. I hope you enjoyed your dinner.

  2. This is such a beautiful, light recipe – perfect for a long summer evening with a glass of Rosé.
    Thank you so much for sharing! x

    (As an Australian, living in New York, I’m also so grateful to read a recipe in Kg & Centigrade – haha. converting pounds, farenheit, pints, etc is so taxing! )

    • Hi Liz, my mum used to soak rabbit in salted water – they were wild rabbits. It is my understanding soaking reduces the gamey flavour. There is no need to soak farmed rabbits.

  3. Pingback: rabbit, rabbit, rabbit | Life in Mud Spattered Boots

  4. I was brought up eating rabbit. My Dad kept some for the pot so I suppose they were farmed. I think Watership Down put off a whole generation ~ including my older daughter!

    Wild rabbit is obtainable here again and my butcher will divide it up for me, which is good. I doubt I could use your recipe for wild ones but I’ve bookmarked it in case I come across any farmed ones.

    It looks delicious.

    • Hi Pat, As I am sure you know, we have a major problem with rabbits. They are a major pest. That is why the authorities have been trying (unsuccessfully) to eradicate them. Neither the myxoma nor the calici viruses has proved successful but most wild rabbits would carry them. That is why we can’t eat wild rabbits anymore. I agree with you this recipe would only work for a nice tender farmed animal.

  5. When I was at a country boarding school for my last 2 years, I was the only person in my class who had eaten rabbit, wild duck, eel, cat fish and yabbies, despite all of us coming from rural backgrounds.
    When I was in my 20’s, first married I tried cooking wild rabbit, and undertook the advice to soak it but it was still so tough as to be inedible.
    In the past year I have cooked for the first time, goat and duck whihc were delicious and we now eat regularly, so maybe farmed rabbit will make up the trifecta because I really wanted to eat the image of yours off the computer screen. Yum. The G.O will have to yield cleaver as I am a bit squeamish.

    • Hi Ella, I remember my mum used to soak the rabbits in salty water. I don’t remember them being tough but that is probably why they were always braised. You most certainly could not cook a wild rabbit this quickly.

  6. I ate rabbit. Once. But your recipe sounds like terrific flavors. Maybe with the chicken thighs.
    My mother never cooked rabbit. I ate some when we lived in Germany. But never really wanted to eat it again. Interesting to think about eating unfamiliar dishes and how we feel about eating different animals. or not eating them at all.

    • Hi Ruth, I was brought up eating rabbit as my dad used to trap them and sell them to butchers. Because of that I am very familiar with them. Even as a kid, I really liked them.

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