Italian Style Braised Rabbit – Coniglio Bianco
This Italian Braised Rabbit recipe is definitely something different from the regular chicken go-to dinner. That’s a good thing because sometimes trying to find new things to make can be challenging. We always seem to alternate through the regular dinners we make that include chicken, fish, and pasta.
Often, I hear my family saying they want something new for dinner because they are tired of the same old, same old. Why not try something new like this Italian Braised Rabbit recipe. Your probably thinking, I’ve never made rabbit before. It must be difficult to make rabbit. Believe it or not, it’s very easy to make this Italian Style Braised Rabbit with this recipe.
This Italian Braised Rabbit recipe can easily be transformed into a hearty dish by adding some root vegetables and a little more bone broth. In this recipe, I’ve added potatoes. But, you can pretty much add any root vegetables to this dish like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.
The trick to getting this rabbit tender is cooking at a high temperature to start and then letting it simmer over low heat for at least 90 minutes. Rabbit is one of those meats that becomes more tender as it simmers. So even though the rabbit meat might be cooked in less time, you will want it to continue to simmer until it is fall off the bone tender.
I’ve made this rabbit in the oven before, however, I find that cooking it on the stove-top gives me more control over temperature, adding ingredients and adjusting seasonings and adding more broth if necessary. Therefore, I recommend stove-top over oven. Please don’t put a rabbit in a slow-cooker. Rabbit deserves much more time and respect than a slow cooker. If you don’t have the time to cook rabbit properly, then this recipe isn’t for you.
This Italian Braised Rabbit Recipe isn’t very complicated. Once you have made it, you will literally be able to make it again without having to pull out the recipe. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want you to come back and search for more great recipes.
Some recipes call for blanching the rabbit before cooking. They say that blanching the rabbit eliminates this white scum on the rabbit. But, to be honest, I’ve never had white scum on my cooked rabbit. I don’t blanch my rabbit. And, there is no need for you to blanch your rabbit either.
I know your probably saying – there is no way that my family is going to eat this! But, you’d be surprised. This is a regular meal in my house and I’ve never had any complaints.
Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Italian Style Braised Rabbit Recipe
Saving Time, Prepping and Cooking
I’m all about saving time and cutting corners. The rabbit I buy is always skinned and cut into pieces. Have your butcher skin and cut up the rabbit into pieces for you. The rabbit pieces should be large enough to be one serving or be part of a serving. If you don’t use the rabbit right away, put it in the freezer to use later. When you are ready to make this Italian Braised Rabbit Recipe, thaw out the rabbit for 24 hours beforehand in the fridge.
When you get to the point of simmering the rabbit, simmer the rabbit pieces in a skillet covered with the lid slightly ajar so that the steam escapes. The liquid condenses and the flavors intensifies. This allows the rabbit meat to absorb the intensified flavors of the deg-lazed wine, broth and red onion.
During the cooking process you will want to flip the rabbit onto it’s other side occasionally so that both sides of the rabbit caramelize. The best part about this dish is the rabbit of course, but the glaze on the potatoes flavored with the red onion and the white wine will make you wanting more and more. Just in case you’ve never seen red onions, this is what they look like.
Choosing a Skillet
For this Italian Braised Rabbit Recipe, I used a shallow 10 inch non-stick skillet with lid. Using a wide skillet allows you more surface room for the rabbit pieces. You never want to stack the pieces one on top of another at the beginning of the cooking process, otherwise the pieces will not cook evenly. Also, allowing skillet surface space for each piece of meat allows for a nice sear mark and caramelization on each piece.
The rabbit should take about an hour and a half to be cooked to the point of tenderness. If you are adding root vegetables you will want to time the addition of the vegetables to the skillet. I usually add potatoes after the one hour mark. I do this because I anticipate that it will be another 30 minutes or so until the rabbit is done.
You will want to adjust the addition of vegetables accordingly. Obviously, if you are adding a vegetable such as broccoli or mushrooms, you will want to add them close to the end of the cooking time because they don’t take long to cook. Also, if you are adding a vegetable that is high in water content, you can expect that their will be more broth in the skillet.
Skillet Real Estate
I also like to season the potatoes with salt and herbs before I add them to the skillet. Finding room in the skillet might be tough. If at the time I add the potatoes, the rabbit seems cooked and falling apart, I will stack it in the skillet and use the space for the potatoes. Giving the skillet surface space to the potatoes allows them to absorb the skillet juices as they cook.
Allowing the Pan Juices to Evaporate will Intensify the Flavor
If near the end of cooking time you notice that there is too much liquid, don’t fret! Take the lid off the skillet and raise the heat to high temporarily watching the skillet closely. Keep the temperature on high for about 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated to your satisfaction. Lower the temperature, cover and let sit in the pan for about 10 minutes before serving.
By the way, if you have leftovers of this Italian Braised Rabbit Recipe – bonus. Leftovers taste great and keep well in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I like making it for my family. If you make it, please drop me a comment to let me know how it was.
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- Season meat with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Place meat in a bowl and add apple cider vinegar with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Let stand for about an hour. Heat oil and ghee in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic until fragrant.
- Lay rabbit in skillet to brown, turn. If the skillet isn't large enough for all the meat, as the rabbit browns on both sides, layer meat and then continue browning other pieces. Add any juices from bowl and add in the chicken broth.
- Bring skillet liquid to boil, then reduce to low and simmer, covered. After about an hour, wedge a spoon in the lid and continue cooking on low while the liquid reduces.
- Add the potatoes about one hour into cooking time. Let cook another 30 minutes. Once the meat flakes away easily from the bone, it's ready. It will be take about 90 minutes when it is simmered at a low heat setting.
- Let the rabbit rest in the skillet about 10 minutes before serving.