Maple Braised Rabbit And Carrots

March 27, 2012
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I don't like to brag. Wait, that's a lie -- when it comes to food and it's good and I made it, I can actually be a little braggy. Anyhow, I will brag that this is one of the best rabbit dishes I have made to date. It is sweet and salty and juicy/tender. The rabbit meat is delicate and takes the brine nicely, and the sweet roasted carrots are a great companion. I recommend serving this with a simple nutty grain accompaniment (we had red quinoa and bulgur). Also, just FYI: Ginger likes it too -- what JRT wouldn't enjoy some bunny and carrots! Easter Dinner is ready to roll!!!

This looks like a long ingredient list, but once you have everything in place you can roll through cooking this in no time. —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Aargersi introduced us to her Coconut Tres Leches cake. Our lives have never been the same.
WHAT: A meal that’s worth bragging about.
HOW: Soak rabbit pieces in a sweet and salty brine for several hours, then dredge them in flour and brown them on the stove. Make a fragrant wine and stock mixture, add the rabbit and carrots tossed with maple syrup, and bake for 40 minutes. While the rabbit rests, celebrate your accomplishments. Then eat.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Here’s a dish to make you feel like a class act. You'll fill your home with an incredible smell, impress your friends (or your imaginary audience) with a bubbling baking dish, and feel clever for pairing rabbit with carrots. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 whole rabbit cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups water plus 3 cups ice
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons more for the flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups peeled carrot in 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  1. Is your rabbit cut up for you? If not, cut off the hoppers and the front legs (I do this with kitchen shears). Then remove the spine and portion the saddle into 4 pieces. There is a side flap that you can either leave loose (I do, I am lazy) or use to create a roll that you can secure with a toothpick.
  2. Make the brine: Toast the peppercorns and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan for a few minutes until they are fragrant. Pour in the water, then add the salt and sugar. Bring it to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar, then turn off the heat. Add the ice. Put the rabbit pieces in a large container and pour the cool brine over top. Refrigerate for several hours (this is a good morning task -- do the rest at dinner time)
  3. Heat the oven to 325° F. Get out your biggest oven-ready skillet (alternatively, you can brown in a skillet and then move the rabbit to a baking dish). Mix the flour with the 2 remaining teaspoons of salt and the ground pepper in a shallow dish. Remove the rabbit from the brine and try to get most of the peppercorns off. Pat it dry, then dredge each piece in flour. Melt the butter over medium-high heat and then place the rabbit pieces in the pan. Don't overcrowd them -- you will likely need to do this in batches. Brown each piece on both sides until golden brown, then remove from the pan.
  4. When all of the rabbit is browned, add the garlic and shallots to the pan and brown them for just a couple of minutes. Add the wine, then stock, and scrape all of the good stuff off the bottom of the pan. Allow this to simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Now add the rabbit back in with the liquids. Toss the carrots and maple syrup together, then position them amongst the rabbit pieces. Add the sage leaves, hit it with a bit more pepper, then cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 30 more. Finish the rabbit by turning the oven to 375° F and cooking for 10 more minutes. Then remove it from the oven and allow it to rest while you take eleventy billion pictures. Remove the sage leaves before eating.
  6. That's all! Hippity, hoppity, dinner is ready!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sara Elisabeth
    Sara Elisabeth
  • twinjadojo
  • Cindy Foreman
    Cindy Foreman
  • cookinginvictoria
  • EmilyC

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

22 Reviews

Sara E. April 3, 2015
do i have take out the spine? it's really difficult....
aargersi April 3, 2015
Do you have kitchen shears? That's what I use, makes it super easy
twinjadojo March 16, 2015
This was wildly delicious! If you are at all concerned that this will be too sweet, no fear. The brine and maple balance perfectly. My 4 y.o. son ate 3 pieces, and refused any carrots because "the rabbit is too good to eat carrots". His twin sister, who is a far less voracious meat-eater, picked her leg and thigh piece to the bone and did the happy dinner dance (eyes closed, swaying to and fro with arms waving overhead). We will mos def add this to the regular repertoire. Thanks so much for the recipe!
aargersi March 16, 2015
That just makes me smile - thank you so much for posting!!!
MrKevinLei November 7, 2014
Interesting recipe! I find the title darkly humorous. :D
Cindy F. October 30, 2014
We always eat rabbit on Halloween. Unfortunitely, our local grocers now informed us that all their rabbits come from China.
cookinginvictoria October 30, 2014
Congraulations on the Wild Card, Abbie! This looks insanely delicious. I love rabbit, but I must confess that I haven't cooked rabbit since I lived in New York. I will have to see if I can track one down in Victoria. They are not at our local farmer's market, but I will inquire next time I am at the gourmet butcher. :)
EmilyC October 30, 2014
Congrats on the WC win, Abbie! This looks so good.
ArtoriusRex October 30, 2014
Are the rabbits available to you different from the small, incredibly bony ones we get out here in the NW? I've cooked recipes with rabbit before and end up fighting bones the entire time I'm eating. Not much fun.

This recipe sounds good, but I think I'd err on the side of chicken like one of your other commentors did.
aargersi October 30, 2014
I can get nice plump ones here at the farmer's market or at the meat counter at my "fancy" market - but if yours are scrawny I think chicken will work fine! Though rabbit is cooked skinless, I think I would use boneless skin on breasts or thighs, and get the skin nice and brown. But also cruise your farmers market for fat bunnies!!!
Kukla October 30, 2014
Congratulations on the WC win, Abbie!! This dish sounds truly delicious and it
would very special on a Sunday afternoon with the right wine, conversation & good friends to share with!!
inpatskitchen October 29, 2014
Yay! Love a great rabbit recipe! Congratulations!
hardlikearmour October 29, 2014
Congratulations, Abbie! I need to get some rabbit ASAP.
aargersi October 29, 2014
WOW - Thanks! How exciting! Funny because I have another rabbit recipe on my weekend "to do" list!!!!
fearlessem December 9, 2013
Thanks aargersi! I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious -- and my first time cooking rabbit! The sauce was just right -- not too sweet, which I had feared... And for those of you who don't have access to rabbit, I'm pretty sure this would be similarly delicious with chicken thighs...
aargersi December 10, 2013
I am so glad you tried it! I have a rabbit in the freezer right now that I have been pondering - paella? But maybe I will do this again instead ...
krusher June 1, 2012
I love rabbit so I cooked this recipe. I agree this is a top dish. Perfect for Australian winter days here. Thanks.
fiveandspice March 28, 2012
I still have never cooked rabbit! I love eating it though! Maybe if I can get the pup to hunt one down... ;) In all seriousness, this looks incredibly delicious, though!
aargersi March 29, 2012
We have a guy at the farmer's market now who sells them - his are outstanding. Hunt one down! Maybe at an Italian meat market?
meganvt01 March 27, 2012
This looks delicious! A totally under used protein - and it seems perfect here!
Cristina S. March 27, 2012
Not only does this look delicious, but your headnote and instructions really made me laugh. It's been too long since I last made rabbit, and you've given me the perfect excuse to make it again soon!
aargersi March 27, 2012
I hope you do, and that you enjoy it! Rabbit is such a tasty delicate meat, and highly sustainable - we should all eat more of it. Especially on EASTER :-)