Herb-Braised Rabbit

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Preparation info

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

Wild rabbits which feed on the aromatic rock herbs of Provence are said to be flavoured with them, a handy ante mortem mise en place for the cook. Hopefully, when hunting in that neck of the woods you will not take a rabbit with a fondness for lavender or the result might be reminiscent of an airing cupboard. Most of us will be denied such exotica and will be working with farmed product, for which this recipe is anyway designed. You can give it all the herbal emphasis you want in this dish, where we treat our flopsy friend to a double dose of flavours: the hard edge of bay, rosemary, thyme and sage during marinating and cooking; and the softer touch of parsley, basil, chives, mint and tarragon in the sauce. Unusually in our Mediterranean context, the sauce is finished with cream.

Ask your butcher to cut the rabbit across the saddle to give 2 joints, with the rear legs and shoulders presented separately. You now have 6 pieces of meat on the bone. Unless you want to frighten the children, allow the butcher to keep the head.


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 farmed rabbit (ideally with liver and kidneys)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ bottle (400 ml/14 fl oz) dry white wine
  • salt and pepper

For the Sauce

  • 10 basil leaves
  • large handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • 20 tarragon leaves
  • handful of chive stalks
  • 300 ml/½ pt (double) cream



Peel, smash and chop the garlic.

Put the rabbit pieces in a roasting dish in which the pieces fit snugly. Brush with olive oil, then chop and scatter over the ‘hard herbs, garlic and salt and pepper, rubbing them in well. Leave for an hour at room temperature to take on the flavours, turning once.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas4. Roast the rabbit for 15 minutes. Turn the pieces, pour over the wine and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Turn again and give it a final 15 minutes. Remove from the roasting dish and keep warm.

Make the sauce: destalk the ‘soft’ herbs and pack into a processor or liquidizer.

Add a little water to the roasting dish and boil down on the hob, scraping and stirring the sediment with a wooden spoon, until you have about 300 ml/½ pt of well-flavoured sauce. Pass this through a sieve into a saucepan, add the cream and bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer until thick.

Purée the herbs and stir into the sauce.


Spoon the sauce over the rabbit on individual plates.

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