Grilled Rabbit with Ancho Chili Sauce

Preparation info

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    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

An exuberant treatment for rabbit, this recipe is from John Ash, restaurateur cookbook author, and chef at Fetzer Vineyards. The simple overnight marination and grilling technique can be used for chicken, also cut into eight pieces. The ancho chili sauce and corn relish add color and deep, lively flavor. Ash uses cream in the chili sauce; we’ve substituted milk to reduce fat.


  • 1 rabbit, cut into 8 pieces (2¾ to 3 pounds)


    • Wash the rabbit pieces and pat dry. Combine the wine, olive oil, coriander, cinnamon, red pepper, and salt in a bowl. Add the rabbit, including the kidneys, liver, and heart, and turn the pieces to coat, rubbing the marinade into the rabbit. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
    • Cover the chilies with hot water and soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, discarding stems and seeds. Set aside.
    • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onions for 2 or 3 minutes, until softened. Add the fennel seed, garlic, and serrano chili and sauté for 3 minutes longer. Add the broth, wine, tomato, cinnamon and reserved ancho chilies and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the milk and heat through. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Add honey and lime juice, taste, and add more if desired. Strain if desired. Stir in cilantro and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. You should have about 1⅔ cups. Set aside.
    • About 1 hour before serving, prepare the salsa. Combine the corn, red pepper, red onion, basil, chili, vinegar, oil, lime juice, and honey in a bowl and stir to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. You should have about 2 cups. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    • Just before serving, heat a grill or broiler until hot. Lift the rabbit legs from the marinade and place on the fire. Grill or broil for 5 minutes. Turn the legs over and add the loin pieces. Grill or broil the pieces, turning them once or twice more, until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. The timing can vary based on the heat of the fire. Do not overcook, or the rabbit will be tough. Grill the kidneys, liver, and heart for the last 5 minutes.
    • To serve, rewarm the sauce, if necessary. Spoon sauce on each of 4 serving plates. Spoon the salsa in the center; then place 2 pieces of rabbit on each plate. Garnish the plates with lime wedges and sprigs of cilantro and serve.