Wild Rabbit with Onions and Ramsons


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

A Long and Messy Business

A Long and Messy Business

By Rowley Leigh

Published 2018

  • About

‘Ramsons’ is the English country name for wild garlic. Young and tender leaves are less pungent.


  • 2 small wild rabbits, weighing about 800 g1 kg (1 lb 12 oz2 lb 4 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50 g ( oz) butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • ½ bottle of white wine
  • 6–10 wild garlic leaves (ramsons), depending on potency, cut into 5mm (¼in) ribbons
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper


Remove the hearts, livers, kidneys and other scraps from inside the rabbits and reserve. Wipe the rabbits dry with kitchen paper, then joint them into six pieces each: two legs, two forequarters (front legs with shoulders attached) and the saddle, cut in half. Place in a bowl and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the flour and toss until the rabbit pieces are evenly coated.

Heat a large heavy sauté pan with the olive oil and a good knob of the butter and fry the rabbit pieces in two batches, colouring them well on both sides. Remove to a plate and discard the fat.

In the same pan, heat the remaining butter and lightly colour the garlic. Before it burns, add the onions and turn them over, keeping them on a high heat. Continue to cook for 10–15 minutes until softened and golden brown. Return the rabbit pieces to the pan, together with the thyme, bay leaf, juniper berries and stock cube. Pour in the wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then add 350 ml (12 fl oz) water. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for one and a half hours.

Trim the rabbit offal, cutting the livers into two pieces and heat a small frying pan, season it well and sear it in a little butter. Add this to the stew along with the wild garlic ribbons and cook for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and sharpen with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve with polenta, mashed or new potatoes.