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Scottish Rabbit Stew Recipe

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: January 25, 2024

This Scottish rabbit stew recipe is an easy, one-pot meal that’s warm and nourishing. Rabbit meat is stewed in stock and wine with vegetables, herbs, and aromatics till the meat is tender. This can be cooked on the hob, finished in an oven, and enjoyed with wild rice or bread.

A one-pot meal? Check.
Lots of booze? Check.
Delicious flavours? Check.
Excellent protein? Check.
A Fabulous Winter Warmer? Check.

I don’t know about you, but there’s not much else I need to convince me to dig into a dish or add its recipe to my little box. The Scottish rabbit stew is a prime example. After my first taste of this beautiful bowl of autumn flavours, there was no way that life could go ahead without it becoming a staple.

Try this out for yourself, and you’re bound to agree!

Rich, boozy, and dark, a Scottish rabbit stew ticks all the right boxes for winter food—or food any time of the year, as a matter of fact! This is a dish that involves slow cooking—patience is key, but I promise it’s every bit worth the wait.

Here’s how to whip up rabbit stew that serves four.

Scottish Rabbit Stew Recipe

Scottish Rabbit Stew Recipe
Scottish Rabbit Stew Recipe
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5 from 1 vote
PREP TIME 25 minutes
COOK TIME 1 hour 15 minutes
COURSE Main Course
CUISINE Scottish
SERVINGS 4
CALORIES 840 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 50 grams Brown sugar
  • 140 grams Prunes
  • 2 Jointed rabbits
  • 50 millilitres Brandy
  • 150 millilitres Red wine
  • Plain flour, just enough to dust the meat
  • 3 strips Bacon, thinly sliced. I love how smoked streaky bacon elevates the flavours in the stew
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 Celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable or olive oil, depending on how healthy you want this to be!
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 250 millilitres Chicken stock
  • Parsley, chopped; to garnish
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method
 

  • Start by soaking your prunes in brown sugar and brandy in a bowl. Set this aside and let it do its thing till we need it again.
  • Dust the rabbit meat with flour.
  • In a large pot, heat the oil. Once heated, shake off the excess flour from your rabbit meat and add it in. We’re looking for a lovely, even, golden hue all over the meat as much as possible, so if this means cooking the meat in batches, do so.
  • For me, batches work better as I can give the meat the focus, love, and respect it deserves. It’s also important to sear the meat and not steam it.
  • Once the meat is beautifully and sufficiently golden, keep it aside.
  • In the same pot, with its delicious mix of fat and oil, fry your garlic, vegetables, bacon, and herbs for about five minutes. You want the colour to start setting in by the end of the five minutes.
  • Now, my favourite part—adding that gorgeous red wine. Pour it all in, using it to also deglaze and scrape off all that delicious fond stuck to the pan’s bottom.
  • Next, add the chicken stock and reintroduce your cooked rabbit meat to the pot.
  • Remember those prunes we set aside to soak? Well, now’s the time to add them to your stew. Pour in the prunes (brandy, sugar, and all). Stir to combine well. Do a taste test and add your seasoning, as required.
  • Cover the pot and let your stew simmer for a good 60-70 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom and burning. Halfway through, at the 30 or 35-minute mark, take off the lid so the liquid can reduce.
  • At the end of the 60 or 70 minutes, your rabbit should be tender and juicy and the gravy thick and velvety, which means that it’s now ready to devour! You can remove and discard the thyme sprig, garnish the stew with parsley, and serve with a side of bread or wild rice.
Chefs Tips
  • You can also finish off the stew in the oven. To do so, transfer your stew to a preheated oven (150℃—you can set it to preheat right at the beginning) and let it cook for 2 hours. At the end of two hours, your rabbit stew is ready to dig into. On days when I’m not ravenously waiting for a bite of delicious rabbit stew and have enough chores to keep me on my toes, I prefer to use the oven, as it also means less monitoring.
  • Though I’ve used two whole-jointed rabbits, you can use just the legs or diced rabbit, but make sure you’re reducing the cooking time by at least 20-25 minutes.
  • This is a forgiving and flexible recipe. You can just as easily use sage or rosemary instead of thyme, use cider or white wine instead of red, use pancetta or Serrano ham instead of streaky bacon, and add more vegetables (mushroom is an excellent choice that elevates the meatiness and flavour of the dish, and so are olives and ripe tomatoes, if you’re taking a page out of the Italians’ books)—the pot is your oyster!
  • For more rabbit flavour, swap your chicken broth with rabbit broth—your butcher can give you a few extra bones for the purpose. You can also use any extra bits from the rabbits you break down for the stew.Just put all these into a pot with some herbs, aromatics, and any vegetables you have lying around, fry them to extract all the flavour, and then add water, simmering until the meat is cooked. On the hob, on a low flame, this should take about four hours, and in a crock pot, about two hours. Once cooked, pour through a sieve or a muslin cloth.
    You can reuse the bones (after taking off all the flesh) to make fresh batches till they go soft.
  • If you’re using wine, make sure it’s good-quality wine. It can make all the difference.
  • If you want to make the stew richer, don’t shy away from adding 25 grams of butter to the oil used for frying!
Nutritional Information
Calories: 840kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 112gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 407mgSodium: 386mgPotassium: 2376mgFiber: 4gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 5405IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 17mg
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Scottish Rabbit Stew Recipe: FAQ

What Do You Soak Rabbit In Before Cooking?

To keep it moist, you can soak your rabbit meat in brine (four cups of water and a quarter cup of kosher salt). Soak for about eight hours.
However, for this recipe, you don’t need to pre-soak, as the meat is slow-cooked.

How Do You Tenderise A Rabbit Before Cooking?

To tenderise rabbit meat before cooking, marinate it with acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, and herbs for several hours. This process helps break down the proteins, making the meat more tender. Alternatively, brining the meat in a saltwater solution can soften it effectively.


Scottish Rabbit Stew Recipe: Parting Thoughts

This recipe is one of my favourite ways to eat rabbit meat. A problem that many of us face with rabbit meat is that it can dry out when cooked, but this recipe keeps your meat tender and moist thanks to all the slow braising we’re doing.

A humble dish that’s fit for a king, this classic stew is a must-try if you love rabbit meat.

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Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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