The rabbit stew, a French delicacy recipe that Madame d'Aubery taught me
Source of the recipe
One of the first recipes that Madame d'Aubery taught me... A delicious dish that she used to cook perfectly !
She actually got the recipe from a chef working at a top restaurant in Lyon, France.
Not sure how she was able to get the recipe ( during those times, recipes from top restaurants were such a secret that it was considered a real miracle to get them ). As she was a restaurant owner, I guess she used some sort of mafia amongst the cooks to steal those recipes ?
If your Rabbit doesn't come cut, you will need to cut it yourself : This video shows you how to proceed:
1. Warm in a dutch oven the Olive Oil (½ Cup) and the Butter (2 Tablespoons or 30 g) and then brown the Rabbit (4 lbs 7 oz or 2 kg) until lightly colored
Cast Iron Dutch Oven FontignacStaub Dutch Oven
2. Brown on all sides, but do not fully cook the meat !
3. Add the Flour (2 tablespoons) and stir
4. Deglaze with the Cognac or Brandy (½ Cup)
5. Keep scraping the bottom of the dutch oven : this will release flavors and will avoid to burn the sauce
6. The juices that stick to the bottom ('sucs' in French) are one the secret for a super tasty sauce : You have to continuously scratch the bottom to release them into the sauce, otherwise they stay, stick, and burn
7. Add the diced Onions (2) and the diced Garlic Cloves (5) and stir
8. Add in the Bacon (½ Cup) and cook for 5 minutes
9. Keep scraping... that will make your sauce tastier
10. Add in the Tomato Paste (1 tablespoon) and stir
11. Add in the herbs : Thyme, Laurel (Bay) leaves and others...
12. Starts to smell delish in the house !
13. Time to pour in the Red Wine (4 ¼ Cups or 1 Liter) : lower the heat to low/medium. Make sure to cover the meat with the Red Wine, and if not fully covered with the liquid, pour in some Water
14. If you want to be super technical, you would follow Thomas Keller's advice (the Californian chef with 3 Michelin stars restaurants) : He recommends to boil and flambé the wine prior to using it. Madame d'Aubery was not doing it. Up to you !
15. Slice and add in the Carrots (3)
16. Lower the heat, reduce to a simmer
17. Make sure to cover
18. The stew must cook for 2 hours, on low heat
19. At some point, add the Salt (1 pinch) and the Pepper (1 pinch) (but not at the very beginning as the salt and pepper could become overpowering after evaporation)
20. You may bake in the oven as well
21. After it is fully cooked, use a sieve to filter the juice
Large Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer
22. To make the sauce, place into a blender and blend the juice, Half of the cooked carrots, Half of the cooked onions, and a few bacon strips
23. Madame d'Aubery didn't add in the Button Mushrooms (10) directly... She would sauté them first in a skillet with butter
24. Then she put everything together in the dutch oven : the mushrooms, the blended sauce and the meat with the vegetables
25. Madame d'Aubery had a secret : she would not eat this delicious recipe the same day : she would refrigerate the dish overnight before serving it to her guests the next days
26. I tested and compared the tastes, and indeed, the sauce texture is thicker and the taste of the stew is more developed when you wait for a full day...
This was the first time I tasted rabbit, let alone prepared it. I am pleased to report it was falling off the bone and delicious.
Thank you "A Little Girl", I'm glad you savoured it
this is the first time I made it the french way. I am used to do it the way my mother taught me from the Netherlands. This recipe is fantastic and would recommend it to everyone who likes to cook and also eat rabbit.
Glad I found this on the internet.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for commenting Marianne and glad you savoured it !
Hello, I have a couple of questions:
1) I'm unable to use 4-1/4 cups of wine due to an allergy. What else can I use to replace it?
2) How much Thyme is used in terms of a teaspoon?
I am not sure how to substitue wine, as it is the esential ingredient for the taste here.
Are you allergic to Beer as well ? There is a Belgian recipe called "Carbonade Flamande" that is cooked with Belgian beer. You may replace the meat with rabbit as well.
hope this helps
Is there really no added salt in this stew?
There is salt indeed, "en quantité suffisante" in French, which means "in sufficient quantities", along with pepper.
Nice catch, I will add salt and pepper to the ingredients
Delic! My husband despises wine and went for seconds. 😁 I served it with rice. Thank you so much for sharing.
Rice is indeed a good idea to serve this dish with!
TO STRETCH THIS RECIPE, I ADDED BEEF BROTH AND 1/2 CUP BARLEY. DELICIOUS!
That's a bit of a stretch as beef is not rabbit, and barley is not used widely in French cuisine.
But if it tastes good, nobody will complain !
how many servings does this make?
I'm intending on serving six.
I would say 3 to 4 but could be a stretch based on how hungry people are...
Wonderful meal !
My first attempt at preparing rabbit stew and I followed your recipe. My family loved it! Everyone had second helpings.
Thanks Berenice, I'm glad you liked it
I’m curious what the benefits are to boiling & flambéing the wine first, especially when it simmers so long? Excited to make this tomorrow and serve on Monday!
Chefs like Thomas Keller or Bocuse claim that flambé the wine first removes the acidity. The dish tastes better
This website has a helpful list of substitutes for wine in recipes.
My autistic son, very picky about food, wants rabbit stew. Why? Because he makes it in Minecraft. I had to find a recipe with carrots snd mushrooms just like in the game, and yours looks like the one to try. Evidently we must put cooked baked potato in it as well. Because thats hiw it is in the game. Maybe his bowl will have that.
Ive never cooked rabbit, so wish me luck!
Good luck !!
What side dish would you serve it with?
What side dish would you serve it with?
You may serve this dish with rice, my favorite, or with steamed vegetables
Can I possibly replace the brandy with whiskey? What do you think? Or would anything else do the trick?
Cognac and brandy are interchangeable in cooking as cognac is simply a subset of brandy.
Trying any other liquor will change the essence of the dish, but it doesn't mean it will taste bad. For instance, Northern Europeans make this kind of dish with beer, and while its called differently ("carbonade” ), it's still very tasty, though different in taste.
So, as an answer to your question, you may try whiskey, but I would not advise it. Whiskey is good for "stronger" meats such as Beef or Pork. Can you try using Cognac instead ? Cognac can be expensive, but a cheap brand will do the trick...
Absolutely. Brandy it is. I was just hoping to use what's in the cupboard! Thank you!
I just jointed a whole rabbit and the pieces weigh only 1lb 11oz. Your recipe stipulates 4lb 7oz.
Seems a lot!
Can I just add a kg of chicken thighs or something? What do you think?
You may always try something and call it "the Patrick touch". I would for instance add a couple TBSP of Madeira, or dry Jerez, or dry Port : I'm sure the result would be only better
I think the weight refers to the whole rabbit before it's cut and trimmed, and in the end there isn't that much left... As for the chicken, yes, absolutely, go for it. ( but rabbit tastes so much better... )
I cooked a rabbit yesterday following your recipe for the first time. My husband tried it and love it. He is from Spain and his mother cooks it delicious. He loved mine. We save it for dinner tonight; but I am not sure what side dish go well with it? Will roasted potatoes work?
It's a good idea to cook, then let rest in the fridge, and heat/serve the dish one day after : the taste will be enhanced.
I like to serve this dish with tagliatelle pasta, or rice
Did you put in the liver and kidneys?
Hey Steve, no I don't, as my professional testers (the neighbours and friends as a matter of fact) don't like them, but nothing prevents you from adding them.
I plan to make this in a few days and can't wait. However, the rabbit that I have is broken down and does not have any bones. Will the result still be the same?
No, it should not modify the taste.
however, plan for a higher quantity of rabbit as you dont have the bones.
Born and raised in st.remey France ..rabbit,geese,coq,duck.chicken graced our table ..and pork ..beef rarely,but sea food and meat did not grace our table at every evening ..that would have been sacrilege...rabbit ..and they were big ..mama would have 2 of them going ..the recipe is close to ..she used shallots,instead of onions ,always cognac ,and a good cooking wine ..all the vegtables she used was what was in season ..also had garden ..many times the little red potatoes in their jackets ..course the button mushrooms ,carrots,...and because my Pepe always liked his homemade mayonnaise..lol..mama or nene would always end up making it ..and yes they would make this meal on Saturday and served on Sunday ..which by the way was a meal that was enjoyed by all..from the appretizers to
Soup that was served usuallly a light vegetable broth ..to the beautifully
Prepared rabbit ..with home made boule of bread ...each course would be brought to the table and at same time the dishes would be passed over to whom ever had been assigned the Job of collecting ..Sunday dinners were for
Sure three hour affairs ..one did not race through a meal but
Enjoyed every morsel..our house hold had 3 generations living there under one roof..
Nice sharing with us!
What type of red wine do you suggest using?
If you want to use a French red wine, then a Burgundy wine (Bourgogne) : Aloxe-Corton, Santenay or Pommard. You may substitute with Pinot Noir.
The great Bocuse recommended wine "Julienas" for his coq au vin, that should work too. (never tried)
If you want a more powerful marinade, then select a French Côtes-du-Rhône for instance a Saint-Joseph. Equivalency : Syrah wine.
Hope this helps...
My husband went hunting to practice “social distancing” and came back with a rabbit. I had told him a long time ago if he ever brought one home I would be a good sport and at least try to cook it. He couldn’t wait a whole day to try it out. It was amazingly delicious. Three out of four of our daughters tried and liked it. Thank you so much for sharing.
I'm glad you enjoyed it !
It’s been a few years since I’ve lived in France so forgive me for writing in franglais
I hunted my first rabbit a few days ago also trying to social distance like the previous commenter. It was very rewarding to hunt my own dinner and have a closeness to the process. I remember a French woman I knew who said we do not (in the modern world) have a relationship with our food...we buy herbs we could grow in a garden or even in an apartment. We detest hunting, but we buy our chicken with no comprehension of what it means to bring it to the table.
The first and last time I ate lapin I had it as a child. My best friend and neighbor had parents who were obsessed with fine French cooking. They invited me to travel with them and I enjoyed their generosity in exposing me to Michelin restaurants. When I was just a little girl, my friend brought rabbit stew to school for lunch and I stole half of it! I vowed to one day make it and I’m glad I was able to do it start to finish. Your recipe brought back a fond memory of that meal we shared or that I robbed
It needed no salt or pepper I discovered- although I am usually addicted to black pepper!
One thing I had to substitute was tomato paste. I had none and did not want to go to the store so I sautéed a tomato that was about to go bad, and added a little water and some sugar. I think the sweetness helped bring some of the flavors together and I generally find tomato paste a little sweet.
Anyway, merci merci merci beacoup for sharing this incredible recipe and bringing my childhood memory to life!
Ps- I used a somewhat inexpensive California Merlot for the cooking but ate the stew with a more expensive Cabernet. The merlot was good enough to have drank with the stew...alors, cest la vie!
Hi Alexandra, I am glad you liked this dish.
It's also something that I enjoy, although this meat is not easy to find in the States. Hunting seems almost necessary !
I shared this dish with American friends who were hesitant at first but who loved it in the end. They keep asking for the next one !
Absolutely delicious. The only thing I changed in the recipe is that I added only 3 cloves of garlic for a 1.7 KG rabbit, and I used less wine - about 300ml.
Also I forgot to finalise the sauce (drain add blend) but it was still a success using the sauce straight out the pot. We ate it about a 2 hours after it finished cooking. Next time I'll try to make it a day in advanced add recommended. Thanks again for this fantastic dish 😀
Yes, Fantastic !
Fabulous. Used a Rioja. First time I’ve cooked rabbit and this was just divine. My asauce was a bit runny so just put rabbit in oven while I reduced the sauce.
I just made this recipe and found it to be spectacular! The meat did really fall off the bones, and the flavor of the mushrooms and vegetables was amazing. I will say that I did not make the sauce, but add the mushrooms to the stew after sautéing them separately. Thank you so much for sharing this!
I agree, this recipe *is* spectacular
Is it vital to puree the sauce, or can i leave the sauce in a rustic way
You may leave it "in a rustic way", but I recommend partial blend, it thickens the sauce and is more elegant in my opinion
Hi, I am planning on making the stew tomorrow and would prefer to cook it in the oven in my alsatian braising pot. What temperature do you suggest?
I would suggest 320 °F / 160 °C for a long time until tender
Just wondering if you could substitute hare for the rabbit? I've currently got a hare in my fridge but not rabbit.
Yes, you may. However, Hare usually takes longer to cook, as their meat has stronger fibers. You will need to cook longer, adding liquid if it evaporates as I suppose. Cook with the lid on, for a longer time, and reduced heat.
Also, after the first day, let it cool, then refrigerate overnight (breaks the fibers), and then cook again, should be tender enough
How long do I cook it in the oven?? At what temp? Do I uncover after an hour (I"m sort of assuming I will cook for 2ish hours like on the stove top but want to know for sure) to help evaporate and thicken?
I just found a previous post with an answer to one of my questions. But I would appreciate a comment on when to uncover. Thanks
So, after 1 hour at 350, I dropped it to 300 for 30 minutes with the lid partially uncovered. After that 30 minutes I saw I needed to recover it completely, as the meat dries a little. Another 30 minutes of cooking, covered, it was perfectly done. SOOOOOOOOO delicious. I am happy. Thanks for a very delicious recipe.
I usually cook on the stove ("on low heat" as mentioned). If you prefer baking in the oven, a low temperature like 320 °F / 160 °C until the meat almost falls off the bones, and you may keep covered (which is necessary for braising).
I am happy you enjoyed the recipe
I’ve always been told (in Germany) that it’s necessary to soak the rabbit overnight in buttermilk or red wine. I didn’t see that in your recipe.
That's what people think, because they heard it. That's also something I believed before.
However, Science has proven lately that wine and acidic solutions actually do the opposite : They make the fibers more rigid and not more tender.
The secret is a long and slow cooking process, followed by a long cool resting period, and then reheat.
It is possible to freeze? Thank you for this great recipe!
I wonder if I caould combine the rabbit with venison or board ?
Yes, you may freeze, for I have seen French gourmet shops freezing them individually,
But make sure to thaw in the fridge first overnight, and then to warm it in the stove.
Do not thaw in the microwave !!
Never tried with venison or boar, but these usually take a longer time to cook because of their meat.
You should cook venison or boar in water (or a stock) for a very long time (simmer for 2 or 3 hours) as a first step (to tenderize the meat) and then proceed like this recipe
Very kind of you to post this recipe.
Two questions, please.
First, I was startled by your indication the weights referred to the whole rabbit. May i just confirm that with you?
Second, I live in the Saône-et-Loire and never see American style bacon here. Poitrine fumée, yes of course, and lardons as well. I
Make my own American-style bacon so I do have it available. But would it perhaps be more conventional to just use lardons?
Thank you kindly.
The weigh I indicated is for whole rabbit with bones.
Originally the recipe calls for French "lardons", which is rare to find in the USA. Therefore I substitute with thick bacon, although not exactly the same.
Smoked bacon is actually very interesting for this recipe, it brings flavors that are unique in my opinion
Thank you kindly for your above answer. Much appreciated.
I hadn’t noticed the French language version of the recipe until now. Nice that you posted them both.
I noticed, however, that the dish is a civet in the French version. But no blood is included? If I elect to add it, do your notes indicate a quantity? And liver or kidneys?
Again, with appreciation.
Certainly is the case with traditional old version, but nowadays the public can live without the blood and livers...
And it's easier to make !
I grew up in the Mediterranean Island of Malta, Rabbit was a special dish for a special occasion. I have been cooking it like my mom used to do. We marinade it in red wine for a few hours. We don't use bacon and we cook it beef broth and wine, the rest is similar to yours.
I have three Maltese friends coming over on Thursday and I have a Rabbit in the fridge. I'm following your advise and cook it the day before this time and I will add some bacon. I like this stew on mash potatoes.
Thank you for a great lesson.
Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Wanted to check of using Spanish chorizo instead of bacon would significantly alter the taste. Also, I have Rioja wine; will it impact the flavour I.e. become more fruity?
Thanks once again!
Yes, it would modify the recipe taste. However, you may try and introduce this as a "Spanish Rabbit", and not a French one anymore.
However, being a big fan of (real) Spanish Chorizo, I think it would turn into a different and excellent dish as well.
Avoid the Mexican chorizo which is very different, and use (real) Spanish Chorizo instead.
I found store here in Texas that sells rabbit and duck, which I wanted to have for the holidays. My rabbit soup didn"t come out as red as yours. And I needed to add a great bit of salt. I tasted it at the stage before using the blender. It was very strong with wine flavor. But, when blended as instructed and refrigerated, it turned into a mellow homey stew. One thing, the rabbit shrank up quite a bit. A half rabbit is good for two servings, but no more. Also, there were small bones that got pulverized in the blender. This did not affect the taste, but made the broth thicker and more brown in color.
Yes, rabbit bones can break. To avoid this, you can strain to remove the bones
Cognac is brandy but brandy is not nesessarily cognac.
Really loved this recipe ! Very subtle and delicious. Thanks !!
Very disappointed. Don’t know what we did wrong’ but the meat was very dry and tough after 2 hours simmer and still tasted of wine. Cooked low for an additional 30 minutes. Broth nice but meat dry and tough
Not my case! This wonderful recipe turned this rabbit very tender. You probably didn't follow the instructions carefully. Slow cooking is the secret ! The whole family loved the taste and how tender the meat was!