what’s cooking wednesday: roasted rabbit & potatoes

Home of What’s Cooking WednesdayWe’re gonna have woast wabbit! We’re gonna have woast wabbit!

Yes, I say this every time we make this dish, and sadly, it’s completely lost on P. So you *must* appreciate it. You do, don’t you?

Today’s What’s Cooking Wednesday recipe is fresh off the “Bizarre Foods” discussion on Friday because yes, I do realize that eating rabbit may be out of the ordinary for some of you. It wasn’t the norm for me either before I came here, although my (Italian) great-grandfather apparently made a delicious rabbit ragù for the family in America.

P’s father used to raise rabbits for food, and now since P is continuing the tradition, it’s quite common to find rabbit on our dinner table.

If you’re curious, no, I have absolutely nothing to do with raising them–we’d likely end up with a lot of pet rabbits if that were the case. And the time P asked me to help, ahem, prepare the rabbit for cooking? He quickly let me off the hook when tears welled up in my eyes at the sight of the poor thing–no longer alive, but still difficult to see.

Yes, I know you may find that hypocritical, but that’s me. I have to say that I do admire P’s compassion and caring in bringing up the rabbits though. I know that sentiment may be nonsensical to vegans, vegetarians, and others, and quite honestly, it’s hard for me to really wrap my head around as well, but it’s true.

He is quite gentle and humane with them and even gives them names; he just grew up knowing them as food, and that’s what they are for us. We definitely save money on meat purchases and at least we know that these are organically raised and treated well.

Such is life in Calabria–full of contradictions and peculiarities but never, ever, boring.

Now on to the recipe, which is based on Coniglio (o pollo) al forno con patate–that “o pollo” means you can also use this recipe for chicken.

Roasted Rabbit & Potatoes
(serves 2 as main course, more as part of larger dinner)

Roasted rabbit and potatoes on Flickr

  • 3 pieces of rabbit (2 thighs and a shoulder will do)
  • 4 large potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, cut into chunks to be inserted into rabbit pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • peperoncino

1. Turn on oven and set to 200°C (390°F).

2. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, salt, peperoncino, and some rosemary. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

3. Wash the pieces of rabbits, and without drying, put them in baking dish.

4. Wash the potatoes, peel and cut them into chunks, and add them to baking dish; sprinkle them with salt and thyme.

5. Score rabbit so that you have places to insert garlic and some sprigs of rosemary. Brush oil mixture liberally onto rabbit pieces and then break up the bay leaves on top of the rabbit.

At this point, it should look something like this:

Roasted rabbit and potatoes (before cooking) on Flickr

6. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place in oven.

7. Let cook for about a half hour. Remove from oven. Turn rabbit and toss potatoes. If the dish is dry on the bottom add some olive oil and/or water.

8. Cook for another 20 minutes or so, being sure that potatoes and rabbit are fully cooked before serving.

9. Let sit a few minutes before serving, but still serve hot.

Buon appetito!

28 Beans of Wisdom to “what’s cooking wednesday: roasted rabbit & potatoes”
  1. 05.14.2008

    The proper response being: we’re gonna have woast duck! We’re gonna have woast duck!

    P to the A-U-L’s last blog post..Three fiddy

    Hee hee…Wabbit season! Duck season!

    And so on and so forth 😉

  2. Gil

    I don’t know why I never ordered rabbit before but I’m going to try when we get to Italy in June. It looks and sounds so good.

    If they’re raised right Gil, it’s a fabulous meat–and one of the healthiest out there to boot.

    Says here that rabbit meat is higher in protein and lower in fat than any other meat:

    The Merits of Domestic Rabbit Meat

    Too bad they’re so dang cute.

  3. Mary

    Rabbit is good but like you, I couldn’t be the one to kill or dress it. Here in the winter a nice dish uses the same ingredients but is cooked “sotto la coppa”. I’m sure they probably do it there too. It’s put in a dish, then a large metal covering is put over it and it’s placed in the fireplace under hot ashes for a couple of hours. O says he wants “rabbit under the cup” – one of his few phrases in English.

    Mary’s last blog post..Vrrr…….

    I’ve never seen that here Mary! Sounds tasty though. Our fireplace wouldn’t be big enough to even hold it, I don’t think, but I could definitely see P wanting to try this outdoors in the campagna 😉

    Love “under the cup!” I’ll have to teach P that one too (and ask him whether he’s had rabbit this way) 🙂

  4. 05.14.2008

    I do remember my dad coming home with rabbit and venison. But for the life of me I can’t remember what it tastes like.

    Laurie’s last blog post..Stuffed Chicken Braised in Cream Sherry Sauce

    Can’t resist…tastes like chicken 😉

  5. 05.14.2008

    I dated a farmer’s son once while going to school in Colorado. I fed Tom the turkey weekly and then when Thanksgiving came, Tom was on the table. I was in shock! I don’t remember if I ever ate any of that turkey.

    I also dated a guy went crabbing and could not put the crabs in that boiling water either …but I did eat the crab. I know just what you mean about it being difficult but it is food.

    The first time I ate rabbit was in Florence. I felt terrible, expecially since the waiter at kept calling it Bugs Bunny, but it was soooo good! Your recipe sounds a lot like a chicken dish my mom used to make with potatoes. I could go for your Roasted Rabbit & Potatoes right now.

    Thanks for the support girasoli. We actually tend to refer to rabbit as “bunny bunny” (in English even though P speaks next to none) so I suppose we’re not much better than that waiter 😉

  6. We haven’t had rabbit in ages. The last time we made it, it was so expensive that it scared us to want to buy it again!
    But our incomes are a little better now and can afford maybe….1 rabbit! Thanks for the recipe though. It’ll come in handy when we can finally afford more! 🙂

    I love your “woast wabbit” description! I’m still laughing out loud at it!

    Wabbit is expensive here too as well; this is why we may start selling it to butchers soon 😉

  7. Joanne

    I grew up eating rabbit and have always loved it and for a while my dad tried his hand at raising them too, but that only lasted a season or two. I hate buying it in supermarkets because they sell it with the head on (something I never know what to do with) and it frustrates me to pay for the extra weight. I totally get the contradictions, if I had to kill my own food I’d starve 😉

    Joanne’s last blog post..The Nutella Sites – Website of the Month May 2008

    We don’t do anything with the head either. In one particular supermarket, I recently saw rabbit pre-packaged in parts, which I hadn’t seen previously. No head!

  8. 05.14.2008

    that looks delicious and it does help if you say it like Elmer.

    running42k’s last blog post..Far too surprising

    Everything’s better with Looney Tunes, I say 😉

  9. 05.14.2008

    I think if you raise them for food, and you treat them humanly, then you are doing the best you can. I have tried rabbit before, but I have never cooked it. I might give it a try, I will just have to lie to Nick about it.

    Beatriz’s last blog post..Mother’s day with a bunch of clowns!

    It really is very similar to chicken, in preparation as well as taste–and healthier 🙂

  10. 05.14.2008

    First, yes I do appreciate your Elmer Fud impersonation….

    I had rabbits as pets growing up and a with a vegetarian in the house… Yeah, you know where I am going with this. We will leave it at that 😉

    The recipe looks great…and I will definitely use it for chicken. My Mom had a similar recipe that she made, but is also had sausage in it. It was called *Chicken Delicious*..and it was.

    My Melange’s last blog post..Readers Report : Tips from Real Travelers

    I love rabbit made with pancetta, but I’ve never had it with sausage…hmm….

  11. 05.14.2008

    No rabbit for me! I’ll try this recipe with chicken!

    Lucy’s last blog post..Monday Starts..Stories from the Weekend

    Be sure to let me know how it comes out Lucy 🙂

  12. 05.14.2008

    For some reason I can’t bring myself to eat rabbit or lamb and I’m told that I’m really missing out. Maybe one of these days I’ll just dive in and try it.

    LuLu’s last blog post..Adventures of Learning a Language – Part 1

    Yeah I have to say that lamb is pretty tasty too. Poor things.

  13. Peter

    I love rabbit and beware to all the people with pet rabbits…they are sadly delicious! lol

    See now there’s a Mediterranean man 😉

  14. 05.14.2008

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Looks really good, wished I could smell it! 🙂

    Sandra Ree’s last blog post..liking…Aimer

    Oh Sandra, it had the *best* smell; I wish you could’ve smelled it too!

  15. 05.14.2008

    As it so happens, I’m going to Eastern Market, which is Detroit’s HUGE open market, on Saturday, and they sell fresh rabbit, so I may give this a try. Otherwise I’ll sub. chicken, which I’ve done in other rabbit recipes. It looks delicious, Michelle!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday – Sublime Squash-Apple Soup

    Well you’re just combining so many of my recent posts, aren’t you? Hope you like it Jen!

  16. 05.14.2008

    I had rabbit for the very first time a few weeks ago in Florence. I was so surprised, I was expecting dark, greasy meat…but was greeted with moist, white meat!


    Eryn’s last blog post..Florence Part II (more events leading up to the wedding)

    Oh not greasy at all–glad you had some good rabbit Eryn!

  17. 05.14.2008

    It’s a tough one Sognatrice, but something I’ve learnt to make my peace with here in the country. I have found that I feel better if I’m gonna eat it, that I prepare and cook it too. Not all the time, but having learnt to dress and prepare a whole host of game, and even helped with the butchering of venison, pig and lamb, I feel better about eating them. I always say a prayer of thanks and always try not to waste anything. I make stock, lard, jelly, etc so at least in my mind I feel I have been truly thankful. And in saying that, I would be truly thankful for a bowl of this, it looks gorgeous. And so quick and easy.

    african vanielje’s last blog post..farfalle with parmesan and wild garlic butter, and roasted tomatoes

    I think that is so fabulous Inge. And I wish you could be here to share it as well 🙂

  18. 05.14.2008

    Eating bunny rabbits?!

    Delina’s last blog post..Martedi

    Oh you can’t tell me you’ve never seen this in Naples…that’s where my Italian great-grandfather was from (well the Salerno province)!

  19. 05.14.2008

    You have inspired a memoir post.
    Stay tuned.
    Much bloglove,

    Frances’s last blog post..Philadelphia Photostroll

    Can’t wait to read it Frances 🙂

  20. 05.14.2008

    I actually like rabbit…and I know they eat a lot of it in Malta, where my fathers family came from.

    Just have to persuade my family to eat it !!!

    Anne’s last blog post..Hi to all my fellow bloggers……

    Another rabbit fan; hope you enjoy some soon Anne 🙂

  21. Enza

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I grew up eating rabbit. My dad raised them for food too!! Anyway, i have never ventured to make it on my own but this recipe looks easy and good.

    This recipe is so simple. The only thing you may have to adjust for is salt really–those potatoes can really suck it in 😉

  22. 05.15.2008

    Here in Toronto, Rabbit is a little difficult to get but whenever I find it I buy it. We love it and I cook it almost the same way you do. It’s delicious…ciao

    rositta’s last blog post..Mount Indefatigable

    Can’t say I saw it much in central PA either Rositta, but in Philly, in the Italian market, well….

  23. 05.15.2008

    Oh,this looks fabulous! If we ever catch any of the bandits rabbits currently marauding through our blueberries and asparagus, I would be only too happy to help one of them end up in this dish!

    anno’s last blog post..So, how would YOU take this?

    Oh the poor bandits! Not good manners to steal blueberries and asparagus though….

  24. 05.15.2008

    whenever we would visit my family as a child, they would always trick my dad into eating rabbit by telling him it was chicken. and he would always get 3/4 of the way through the meal before realizing, hey, chicken bones don’t look like this.


    michelle @ TNS’s last blog post..This post is either about blondies or bipolar disorder.

    The truth is in the bones, they say. Or at least I do. Now.

  25. 05.15.2008

    Ahh, rabbit a controversial subject even among meat eaters. I know they are cute and fluffy but to me this sounds so delicious, I would walk over broken glass to get a taste.

    I grew up in rural Norfolk in the UK and my father often brought rabbits home for the family to eat, as a child I can remember helping him to “take the rabbit’s jacket off”, although that seems kind of strange now. We all loved rabbit and my granny made the best rabbit pie ever which we always had on Christmas eve. Well done P for top rabbit rearing practices, I’m on my way over for supper!

    amanda’s last blog post..Guilty as charged

    Aw, the rabbit’s jacket…when you grow up with it, it definitely is different. I hope you have that recipe for Granny’s rabbit pie! Yum 🙂

  26. 05.16.2008

    We too raised rabbits for the meat when I was young. That didn’t stop us kids from giving them names and playing with them. Though they were really cute as babies them there wabbits do bite. Ouch. I was the child that at times watched as my dad did the sad deed. Call me curious I guess. I was never thrilled when we had rabbit for dinner, can’t say I didn’t like it but just couldn’t get past the fact that it was in a cage in the backyard early in the day. I know you ask, you can watch their demise but not eat them?? Go figure. I’m not into eating venison, duck, pheasant, elk, etc. either. No problems with a rib eye though. Is therapy needed?

    I’m not sure I’ll make the dish personally but I will try and remember to order when I’m in Italy next.


    Ice Tea For Me’s last blog post..what’s cooking wednesday – pasta with tomato almond pesto

    Very interesting childhood experience Linda…and we all draw our lines somewhere, so I don’t find yours odd at all 😉

  27. Lisa

    Well, Michelle, if you’re going to woast wabbit, wemember to be wery, wery quiet.

    Elmer Fudd

    Vewy vewy twue 😉

  28. 05.19.2008

    Better to have wabbits waised with wove than by some corporate wascal. Mmm, wabbit.

    I couldn’t agwee mowr BLC 😉

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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