Rabbit Braised with Kalamata Olives and Prunes #SundaySupper

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It’s time for another Sunday Supper, and our theme this week is a (perhaps welcome?) departure from holiday food chatter: On the Hunt! So what does On the Hunt mean? It means that our recipe had to feature an ingredient that historically had to be hunted or foraged. Meats like rabbit, venison and wild boar; produce items like wild mushrooms and wild berries, OR we could feature an ingredient that is hard to find and we have to “hunt down” either by ordering via internet or driving across town to locate.

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I chose to feature rabbit, a meat that was historically hunted in the wild. To be clear though, the Sunday Supper crew did *not* require me to hunt this rabbit myself. Kind of a metaphorical theme here, so yes, I did just purchase a rabbit from my local grocery store. You can stop attempting to picture me in camouflage. 🙂

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This was my first time to ever cook rabbit at home, and I’d only eaten it in a restaurant once before. And now I have to join the ranks of chefs who lament that rabbit doesn’t seem to be much of a thing in American cuisine. As it’s been said, rabbit is a lean, delicious protein low in cholesterol, and you couldn’t ask for a more naturally sustainable source of protein either. I mean, the phrase “breeds like bunnies” does exist for a reason!

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This particular preparation of rabbit was just beyond delicious. Matt and I raved for days. Leftovers performed very well just being reheated in a cheap microwave, too (always a plus!). After seeing how easy it was to cook, and how pleasurable it was to eat rabbit, this is one American who will definitely be doing her small part to get more rabbit into the American diet. I hope y’all enjoy this one!

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And do not forget to check out the rest of my Sunday Supper crew and see what they “hunted” this week!

{Two Years Ago: Balsamic and Beer-Braised Short Ribs}

Source: Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen

Ingredients:
2 thick slices of bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
8 to 12 cipollini onions, peeled* and roots and tips cut off, halved if large
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
1 whole rabbit (about 3 lbs.), butchered into 6 pieces: 2 foreleg pieces, 2 hind leg pieces, and 2 loin (back) pieces (have your butcher do this!!!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbs unsalted butter, or more as needed
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup dry red wine (I used Syrah)
2 cups chicken or veal stock
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup pitted prunes

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 275 F.
Place the bacon in a large Dutch oven or other oven-proof heavy pot and cook it over medium heat, until browned and crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon bits to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the onions and carrots to the pot with the bacon fat and cook over high heat until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions and carrots to the plate with the bacon. Cover the plate with aluminum foil and set aside in the refrigerator. Pour off all but 1 tbs bacon fat from the pot.
Generously season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the rabbit pieces with the flour, tossing them to coat on all sides and shaking off the excess.
Add the butter to the pot and melt it over medium heat. Add the rabbit pieces and brown them on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. The pieces should cook in a single layer with about 1 inch space between pieces, so work in batches if necessary. Transfer each piece of browned rabbit to a plate. In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the garlic and stir to cook.
Quickly remove the last pieces of rabbit to a plate and then immediately add the red wine and let it come up to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the stock and thyme sprigs and let it come to a boil. Kill the heat, add the rabbit back in, and cover the pot with a layer of aluminum foil. Then place the pot’s lid on top and transfer to the oven. Braise the rabbit for 2 hours without peeking.
Remove the pot from the oven. Stir in the bacon, onions and carrot, plus the olives and prunes. Re-cover the pot with both the foil and the lid, return to the oven and continue braising for 1 more hour, 3 hours in total. Check the rabbit after 30 minutes, and if the sauce is looking watery, let it braise uncovered completely the rest of the way. You want the meat very tender, falling off the bone almost, and the vegetables tender.
Taste for seasoning, then serve the rabbit right from the pot.
*To peel the onions, simply blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove with a spider or slotted spoon to a bowl. Let cool for a minute or two, just until you can handle them, and then peel the skins off with your fingers.

Spread it on Thick

Nibbles and Sides

The Main Event

Sweet Treats

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26 responses to “Rabbit Braised with Kalamata Olives and Prunes #SundaySupper

  1. Those bunnies in the supermarket are easy prey, Julie. 🙂 Your rabbit looks wonderful! If I close my eyes and imagine, I can taste the salty olives and sweet prunes with a bite of tender rabbit right now.

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  5. The first time I had rabbit was in Germany and loved it. Then I got back here to the US and couldn’t find it anywhere. That was years ago though. I’m so glad it is available here now. Great recipe for it too.

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  9. LOL…so glad we didn’t actually have to hunt down our ingredients. Looks like one lovely dish!

  10. I’ve had rabbit a few times, and it really is quite delicious! Your recipe looks amazing, and to be honest, I guess it never dawned on me that grocery stores sold them! But I do love to hunt, and am tossing around the idea of raising meat rabbits when we get our country house.

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  12. Love the sweet and salty combination you would get from the olives and prunes. Then the added bacon, onions and carrots would round it out beautifully. A lovely dish for rabbit.

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  15. Definitely one for the stepfamily! They’ll go nuts for it

  16. I adore rabbit and can not wait to try this fantastic recipe!

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  18. I love rabbit… it’s a staple in Italian cuisine but not so much here in Australia, so it’s quite hard to find. This recipe sounds delicious!

  19. Very different using rabbit and olives.

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  21. What!? You didn’t actually go hunting for le lapin down the streets of Manhattan if camouflage? Tee hee. And, yes, bunnies do seem to be in abundance in this world =) Thank you for the chuckles, Julie.

    As for your dish, looking at the photo and recipe makes me believe you’ve joined the European chefs in not only their lament but their ability to cook very gourmetish rabbit =)

  22. This looks wonderful! Perfect for a cold Maine night!

  23. Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom)

    I need to hunt down some rabbit here in NJ. I’ve seen many of them hopping through the yards, but I don’t think shooting them down in the suburbs would go over well with the neighbors. 😉 This dish looks luscious and good! Would love to try it once I find me some bunnies!

  24. Oooh, another bunny recipe! I’ve never had it, but yours certainly looks yummy. Nicely done!

  25. Interesting reading your sentiments regarding rabbit and how it’s yet to become popular here in the United States. I think it’s the same reason why eating cats and/or dogs isn’t as common as it is in Asian countries: they’re cute and seen as pets; not food.

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