Rabbit Braised in Belgian Ale

Fall comes to Sacramento later than much of the country, but come it does. The winds blow and the leaves scatter and all one wants for dinner is a warming stew. In this recipe we are braising rabbit, over onions and celery root, in a sauce of Belgian ale and whole grain mustard. It’s a carbonnade of sorts, but with rabbit, and is perfect alongside crusty bread to sop up the sauce or over a batch of egg noodles.

If you are unfamiliar with cooking rabbit, you can often find whole frozen rabbits and specialty markets. If you can, call ahead and have the butcher defrost and part out the rabbit.

Rabbit Braised in Belgian Ale Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Many markets carry whole frozen rabbits. Call ahead to have your butcher defrost and cut rabbit into parts. Otherwise, defrost by by placing into a large bowl of cool water. Once thawed, cut into parts (see these instructions). Try to remove any stray little bones at the edges of some of the cuts of rabbit.

The dish works best with a Belgian ale. If not available, try Newcastle brown ale or Anchor Steam ale, or O-Doule amber ale if you need to avoid alcohol. Do not attempt this recipe with a hoppy beer.



  • One 2 1/2 to 3 pound rabbit, cut into 6 to 7 serving pieces (2 front legs, 2 back legs, the loin cut into 2 to 3 pieces), plus ribs and flap meat
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour for dredging
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, sliced stem to root (about 2 1/2 cups sliced)
  • 4-6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Belgian ale, such as Chimay or Ommengang
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 celery root, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons whole grained mustard
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


1 Place rabbit pieces on a platter, sprinkle both sides with kosher salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.

rabbit-carbonnade-1 rabbit-carbonnade-2 rabbit-carbonnade-3 rabbit-carbonnade-4

2 Place flour on plate. Dredge rabbit pieces in flour. Heat oil and butter in a large  Dutch oven on medium heat (large enough to fit rabbit pieces in a single layer). Once the butter is melted and foamy, add the rabbit pieces in a single layer to the pot.  Brown on one side without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes. Then turn the pieces over and brown on the other side. Remove to a plate.

rabbit-carbonnade-5 rabbit-carbonnade-6

3 Add the sliced onions to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown, scraping up and browned rabbit bits from the bottom of the pot. Add garlic cloves and thyme, cook until onions are soft and the garlic quite fragrant.


4 Increase the heat to high and add the Belgian ale. Let it simmer for a minute or two, then add the stock. Add a half teaspoon of salt and the freshly ground black pepper.

rabbit-carbonnade-8 rabbit-carbonnade-9

5 Place the diced celery root over the onions in a single layer. Place the browned rabbit pieces over the  celery root. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a very low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, or until the rabbit is just cooked through and tender.

rabbit-carbonnade-10 rabbit-carbonnade-11

6 Remove rabbit pieces from the pot and keep warm on a platter. Increase the heat to high and reduce the liquid by one third. Then, reduce the heat to low, stir in the mustard and sugar. Taste and add more salt and pepper in needed. Slice the flap meat pieces of the rabbit into strips and return to the pot. Strip away any available meat from the back and chest parts and return meat to the pot. Add the serving pieces to the pot. Cover and let rewarm for a minute. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

Serve with crusty bread, egg noodles, or rice pilaf, along with some Belgian ale.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


Italian Braised Rabbit on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Rabbit Confit from Leite's Culinaria

La Mamma and Her Braised Rabbit on Chez Pim

Rabbit Stifado on Kalofagas

Coniglio alla Sanremasca (Ligurian Rabbit, Sanremo Style) from Samurai Viking Cuisine

Never miss a recipe!

Subscribe to Simply Recipes free via email:

Showing 4 of 24 Comments

  • natale

    Could you swap the rabbit with a chicken without changing too much else in the recipe?

  • Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    Back when I used to eat meat I tried rabbit a couple of times and quite enjoyed it. I had it at Bouchon Bakery in Napa and remember it like it was yesterday. Rabbit boudin blanc with a crispy rabbit cake of sorts, with fresh pluots from the garden across the street.

  • Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    I love homey style dishes like this, it creates a different type of feeling around the dinner table. Love it!!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    I’ve never had rabbit before and this dish is definitely beckoning me to do so — soon :)

View More Comments / Leave a Comment