Rabbit Stew with Mushrooms

I have been bugging Hank Shaw for years for a good rabbit stew recipe and he’s finally delivered. Thanks Hank! ~Elise

At the BlogHer Food conference recently, I asked Michelin-starred Chef Dominique Crenn what dish she was most proud of. She said rabbit with mushrooms, the way her mother made it. I never did get her recipe, but I love rabbit, and love mushrooms, so here is my take on a dish I imagine Chef Crenn might like.

This dish celebrates the onset of cooler weather. The combination of rabbit (you can easily substitute chicken if you are unable to find rabbit) mushrooms, butter, stock and roasted garlic are as wonderful as that first crisp day, when leaves are falling, schools are back in session, and football is on the TV.

Mushrooms come into their own in fall, and I highly recommend you use as many varieties of fresh mushrooms as you can get your hands on. Most supermarkets will have at least a couple kinds, and the more varieties the better. Dried porcini mushrooms are readily available, and they add a lot to the flavor of this stew, as does their soaking water. You need to strain that water to get out any bits of dirt or grit, but it’s easily done with a paper towel or coffee filter.

Rabbit Stew with Mushrooms Recipe

  • Prep time: 45 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Rabbit are often available at specialty markets, fresh or frozen, or can be ordered by your local butcher. If you can find fresh rabbit, have your butcher piece it out for you. Otherwise, see How to Cut Up a Rabbit. Alternatively, you can simply brown the whole rabbit, and put it into the stew whole. Then remove it later and pick off the meat.



  • 1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 rabbit
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup sherry or white wine
  • 1-2 cups mushroom soaking water
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


There is an optional step to making this stew taken from classic French cooking (Antonin Careme) that transforms a good dish into a great one. Mash the rabbit or chicken’s liver, mix it with crème fraiche or sour cream, then push it through a fine sieve. The result is a pink slurry that will thicken and enrich your sauce. If you choose to take this step, do not let your stew boil once the liver-crème fraiche mixture is in it or it will curdle. If you want to go halfway with this final step, mix in a large dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream in at the end.

1 Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water.

2 Cut the rabbit into serving pieces and salt well. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Use all of the rabbit in this dish – you can fish out the ribs and other parts that have little or no meat on them later; they will add vital flavor to your stew.

3 Optional Step If you are going to make the crème fraiche-liver thickener, mince the rabbit liver finely and move it to a small bowl. Vigorously mix in about 1 1/2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream. Now put the mixture into a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl and push it through with a rubber spatula. Reserve in the fridge.

4 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the top third off the heads of garlic and drizzle the olive oil over them. Wrap the heads loosely in foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cloves are soft and brown. Set aside to cool.

5 Chop off the tough ends of the mushroom stems and either discard or save for stock. Roughly chop or slice the mushrooms and set aside. Dice the rehydrated porcini. Pour the porcini soaking water though a paper towel into another bowl. Reserve the liquid.

6 Heat a thick-bottomed large pot on high heat for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and shake the pot. Stirring continuously, dry sauté the mushrooms until they release their water. Turn the heat down to medium-high. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any mushroom bits off the bottom of the pan. Salt the mushrooms lightly. When the mushroom liquid is mostly gone, remove them to a bowl.

7 Add the butter to the pot. When the butter melts, turn the heat down to medium. Pat the rabbit pieces dry and place in the pan. Work in batches if you need to, do not crowd the pan. Brown the pieces well on all sides. Remove the rabbit pieces from the pot and set aside.

8 Increase the the heat to medium-high and add the shallots to the pot. Sauté until the shallots are nicely wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir from time to time. Sprinkle salt over everything.

9 While the shallots are cooking, squeeze the roasted garlic into the mushroom soaking water you have strained, then whisk it together.

10 Add the sherry or white wine to the shallots in the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape off any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Let the sherry boil down by half. Add the mushroom-roasted garlic mixture and the stock and stir to combine. Add the thyme, all the mushrooms, the rabbit and the parsnips and bring everything to a bare simmer.

11 Simmer gently for 90 minutes. You want the meat to be close to falling off the bone. If you want, you can fish out all the rabbit pieces and pull the meat off the bone – it makes the dish less attractive, but it will be easier to eat. Taste for salt right before you serve and add if needed. Stir in the parsley.

12 If you are using the crème fraiche-liver mixture to thicken your stew, turn off the heat. When the stew stops bubbling, add the mixture and let it heat through for a minute before serving.

Serve with a crusty loaf of bread, a green salad and either a hearty white wine, a dry rose or a light red wine.

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Rabbit braised in red wine, with olives, sage, rosemary, and onions from Chez Pim

View Comments / Leave a Comment


  1. Meagan

    I can even describe how good this looks! I’ve never had rabbit, but I don’t know where to find a good source, so I can’t change the fact! The stew looks so flavorful yet easy. I would surely try this with lamb, since I don’t think my grocery has rabbit.

    Chicken is a far better analog to rabbit than lamb. Lamb might be fine, but this is a white meat stew, not a red meat stew. Do chicken first and then try it with lamb. ~Hank

  2. jeanette

    If you can’t buy your rabbit, you can always go hunting for one. This stew sounds like it would be great with squirrel. I will definitely have to try this recipe out. Thanks!

  3. Claude

    In France,rabbit is not too expensive and widely eaten;we serve this “civet de lapin” (rabbit stew)with steamed potatoes or flat pasta to make the most of the sauce.

  4. Claude

    Meagan, I’m not sure this recipe would work well with lamb; pork or chicken, for sure, will be delicious with this tasty sauce.

  5. Shanna

    I have never even seen rabbit anywhere, guess we’ve always lived in either to urban an area or too small of one! lol Although I’d be all for trying it, just can’t seem to find it anywhere!
    This sounds delicious, and I will definitely be trying it with chicken!!

  6. Dan

    My son’s comment would be:

    Rabbit season!
    Duck season!
    Rabbit season!
    Duck sesason!
    Rabbit season!
    Rabbit season!
    Duck season! Fire!

    But seriously, I like that this recipe calls for the bones to be removed afterward (when it’s easy). I have issues with rabbit bones breaking easily and making things difficult.

  7. Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

    Rabbit is a dish that has been requested but I have always resisted, so the chicken version probably is in order. The mushroom in this dish is what really entices me. Looks delicios.

  8. Christina Bollinger

    Thanks for this! Rabbits have a long history for running willy nilly in the thousands on our island. Can’t wait to try this one.

  9. the blissful baker

    i love a good, hearty stew, but i think rabbit might be a little too adventurous for me :)

  10. Renee

    Will definitely be trying this with chicken. I’ve looked for rabbit, but can’t find it either. The dish sounds wonderful though!

  11. Kitty

    I was just thinking about Rabbit Stew after reading the novel The Passage….the characters catch rabbits and make stew whenever they get a chance. I would love to make this…but I’m afraid I would be the only family member willing to eat it!

    • Susan Bethards

      We eat it every fall for Thanksgiving.It is delicious.You are missing out on a wonderful treat. We serve it with mashed farluc potatoes AND egg noodles.

  12. Kim Bauer

    I was raised on game meat and this looks incredible. Growing up, we would have used rabbit that my dad hunted and morell mushrooms from my grandpa’s forest.

    Yummy. Since I live in the OC now and can’t send the boys out to shoot rabbits, we’ll have to settle for chicken or ostrich.

    Thanks for sharing recipes with game meats.

    Kim Bauer

  13. bbos

    Do you mean 2 heads of garlic? I am a garlic person and that is a lot of garlic!

    Yep. Two heads. Once they are roasted it really isn’t that much. Be sure they are nicely browned and soft before you put them in the stew, though. ~Hank

  14. Sara

    To those who are afraid of trying rabbit, don’t be! I was very hesitant to try it, but after some prodding from my boyfriend (who is a great cook and grew up on all sorts of game), I tried it and LOVED it. He cooked the rabbit in a French stew recipe (butter, salt pork, mushrooms, tomatoes). Rabbit is really wonderful, do not be afraid to give it a shot. We’ve not tried this recipe yet, but we plan to try it this weekend.

  15. Judith

    How about using hard cider instead of white wine? I have tried a recipe like this and had good results. I think it was from one of Jane Grigson’s cookbooks.

    Hard cider would work, as would regular cider. Different flavor, but it would still compliment the rabbit. I’d avoid porcini with cider though, and stick to cremini, buttons, oysters or chanterelles. ~Hank

  16. Checka

    This absolutely looks delicious and this is the perfect time of year for it. While I would certainly prefer using rabbit as this is the centerpiece of the dish, I don’t know if I can find it in my area or if my picky husband would eat it if I could find it.

    If I need to substitute chicken, can you provide some guidance on quantity? Would one chicken be the equivalent of one rabbit? Would you use both dark and white meat? Thanks.

    I’ll keep on the hunt for that “wascally wabbit” for sure!

    I’d get enough chicken leg/thighs to feed 4 people. For me, I’d eat a thigh and a drumstick myself, so you’d need four leg/thighs for the dish. Just use dark meat — it’s way better for this recipe! ~Hank

  17. Tracy

    Thanks for this wonderful game meat recipe. My husband would definitely try this one=)

  18. Janet

    So the liver is raw in the creme fraiche-liver mixture?

    Yep. It’s cooked by the residual heat of the finished stew. ~Hank

  19. mary

    I love your blog and recipes….would never eat rabbit…have one as a pet.

    I understand. Try this with chicken thighs and legs, though. I bet you’d like it. ~Hank

  20. Georgia

    I love rabbit and order it whenever I see it! If I can get my hands on some (maybe whole foods…) I will definitely make this!

  21. Laura

    Oh my! Now that looks like some real food. Do rabbit meat have that sort of wild flavor, or is it more neutral like chicken?

    Domestic rabbit is pretty neutral-tasting, like chicken. ~Hank

  22. Nikki Cooks

    This looks divine!! It has been years since I have eaten rabbit. My friends mother was from Sicily and use to make the most amazing pasta with rabbit and white wine sauce. My mouth is watering right now thinking of it. I never knew where I could buy rabbit from, they use to raise their own. Thank you so much for this recipe and the tips on where to buy rabbit meat. I am so excited and as soon as I can find the meat I am making the stew!

  23. sandi may

    this was amazing! ive never had rabbit before, but i got it at my local butcher, and i live in L.A., and this was easily the best dish i have made. it also freezes well for thawing at a later date. thank u so much for a new personal classic!!

  24. John Twiss

    I am constantly amazed at people who are turned off by the various types of meat or offal. If one is going to slaughter any animal, whether rabbit or beef and everything in between how can they then decide that either a particular part is distasteful or a particular type is?
    Liked the recipe which is very similar to that we always had at home when I was a child. At home however, they used the smallest of shallots and several of them were thrown in peeled but whole.

  25. Sarah

    This came out AMAZING!!!! thank you for this recipe. I love rabbit and this truly was worth the work! DELISH!!!

  26. Candace

    Told the kids they were eating Peter Rabbit… Believe it or not, that worked! … Everyone loved it… Big hit! Thanks :) Only sad thing to report is that my rabbit did not come with the liver. I’ll have to make a special request for it next time… and Yes, there will be a next time.

  27. Bob Armstrong

    I tried this recipe with a rabbit purchased at a local farmers’ market, and it turned out to be a lot of work — and produced one of the best meals we’ve had this year. The intensity of mushroom flavor in the stew is worthy of a fine restaurant’s reduction sauce. Just be ready for a solid two hours’ toil in the kitchen, beginning of course with dissection of the rabbit, which is somewhat more involved than the corresponding operation with a chicken due to the presence of silverskin and the backbone geometry. The effort is worth it!

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