Braised Rabbit with Prunes (Lapin aux Pruneaux) is a great classic dish from the French repertoire. Delicate rabbit meat gets braised in white wine with salty bacon and sweet prunes –beloved by the French- to create a deliciously rich, thick and slightly sticky sauce. This succulent combination of sweet and salty flavors is quite unique in French cuisine, which makes this dish very memorable.
This is a simple recipe to make at home, equally suited for serving on a weekday or for hosting a dinner.
Cooking with Rabbit
If you are new to cooking with rabbit, it is very similar to chicken. Most recipes calling for rabbit can actually be substituted with chicken as it can be prepared similarly. Rabbit just has a slightly more delicate and tender texture, with a slightly more earthier taste. If you enjoy cooking with and eating chicken, you will certainly enjoy rabbit.
This recipe is meant to use a whole rabbit, cut into 8 serving pieces. Whole rabbits are available in most local butcheries, if not in your local grocery store. They can often be ordered as well, so do not hesitate to ask. And while you are at it, I recommend you also ask your butcher to cut the rabbit into parts for you, which will save you a lot of time. If you do decide to butcher the rabbit yourself, you can watch this video. You can also sometimes find rabbit in grocery or specialty stores, already pre-cut, fresh or frozen.
Liver, or not
Optional to this recipe is the use of the rabbit liver. If you buy a whole rabbit, you will obviously have it come with it. And even if you buy rabbit pieces pre-cut and packaged, you will often still receive the liver with it. The idea is to whisk the liver with about 1 tablespoon of white vinegar until it becomes creamy, and add it to the sauce. The liver doesn’t really impart much flavor to the sauce, but it does make it richer and slightly thicker.
More cooking notes:
- I recommend you take the rabbit pieces out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you cook them, to allow them to get close to room temperature.
- In France, “lardons” are used in this recipe. Lardons is slab bacon sliced into matchsticks. We’re using bacon here to recreate lardons sticks.
- For the white wine, I recommend you choose one that is dry and crisp, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc.
- For better enjoyment while eating this dish, I recommend using pitted prunes.
I hope you’ll love this Braised Rabbit with Prunes (Lapin aux Pruneaux) recipe as much as I do!
You may also like:
- Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts in Grape Sauce
- Simple Chicken Marengo with Mushrooms
- Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Onion
- Coq au Vin Blanc
2 tbsp (28g) unsalted butter
2 tbsp (30ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1.5 kg rabbit, cut into 8 serving parts
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
6.5oz (180g) Bacon – about 6 slices, sliced into 1/2-inch thick matchsticks
2 Shallots, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1.5 cup (350ml) white wine
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
3 bay leaves
¼ tbsp juniper berries (about 12)
1 ¼ cup (300g) prunes (pitted)
Make sure you read the cooking notes before you start.
Step 1 – At least 2 hours before you start cooking, pat dry the rabbit (with paper towel) and season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Be generous and make sure to get inside all the nooks and crannies. Set aside to "warm" to near room temperature. You can do your prep work (shallots, garlic, bacon) in the meantime.
Step 2 – In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or casserole, heat up the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Place the rabbit pieces in (work in batches) and cook for 5 minutes on each side, until the outside is golden. Set aside on a plate.
Step 3 – Add the bacon strips and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until crisp. Remove the bacon from the Dutch oven with a spatula, so the drippings remain at the bottom, and set the bacon aside.
Step 4 – Add the shallots and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until slightly caramelized.
Step 5 - Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Add the rabbit pieces back in. Pour in the white wine and chicken stock. Add the bacon, 2/3 of the prunes (200g), juniper berries and bay leaves. Cover with a lid, lower the temperature to medium low and cook for 45 minutes.
Step 6 – After the 45 minutes, ensure the rabbit is cooked through by poking a pointy knife in it. It should insert fairly easily. Add the rest of the prunes (100G) and cook for an extra 10 minutes.
Optional: When adding the last of the prunes, you can add the rabbit liver. Mash up the rabbit liver in a small bowl with a fork, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and whisk until creamy. Pour in the mixture into the sauce, mix to combine.
After the 10 more minutes of cooking, serve over rice.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appétit!