Rabbit Stew with Mushrooms

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.

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.

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


  • 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


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

2 Cut rabbit into pieces and sprinkle with salt: 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.

rabbit-stew-mushrooms-method-1 rabbit-stew-mushrooms-method-2

3 Optional Step with rabbit liver: 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 Roast garlic: 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 Prep fresh mushrooms, dice rehydrated porcini, save mushroom soaking liquid: 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 Dry sauté fresh mushrooms: 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 Brown rabbit in butter: 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.

rabbit-stew-mushrooms-method-4 rabbit-stew-mushrooms-method-5

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

10 Deglaze shallots with sherry: 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.

11 Add thyme, mushrooms, rabbit, parsnips, bring to simmer and cook: Add the thyme, all the mushrooms, the rabbit and the parsnips and bring everything to a bare simmer.

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 Add liver mixture if using: 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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  • Christine

    This looks delicious! I love rabbit but have never actually made it myself. Can’t wait to try this! Quick question. What non-alcoholic liquid might you suggest as a substitute for the white wine?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Christine, you can sub with chicken stock and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.

    • Nelly

      Hi there! Alcohol has a very low evaporation point. When used in cooking, the alcohol evaporates.

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Nelly, most alcohol evaporates when cooked, but not quite all. There are many reasons that someone might choose to avoid cooking with alcohol. For some people even a trace amount is too much. But if a trace amount is okay, then yes, cooking with alcohol this way shouldn’t be an issue.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Sarah

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

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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