Braised Rabbit with Prunes


Classic French preparation of rabbit, braised in white plonk with shallots and plums.

Have you ever made the Classic 80s Silver Palate Chicken Marbella?

This is chicken cooked with prunes and olives. It is awesome how sweet plums simply melt in chicken drops.

Prunes are, in my opinion, An underused ingredient. They have had such a bad reputation that they have been marketed as dried plums for years, which is actually what they are. Only dried prunes. Like big fat raisins.

Plums used in cooking can give a deeply sweet note to everything, especially meat.

Rabbit with prunes is a classic French dish known as “Lapin aux prunes”. In this version, we first fry the rabbit pieces in a little olive oil and butter, and then we cook them in white plonk with shallots, garlic, thyme and prunes.

Have you ever prepared rabbits?

It’s a bit like chicken, both in cooking and eating. In fact, almost any recipe that can be prepared with chicken can be prepared with rabbit and vice versa. The taste is simply more subtle and not “chicken-y”.

An optional step in this recipe, which I highly recommend, is to clean the rabbit liver, which should be packed with rabbit, with a little vinegar and add it to the Sauce at the end.

Believe it or not, the liver does not give the dish a liver taste, it just makes it richer and the Sauce thicker with a deeper taste.

This recipe is great for leftovers, kind of like a stew that gets better in a day or two. The plums fall apart in the Sauce and the flavors mix, so that every bite is wonderfully hearty and sweet.

The rabbit is available in many specialized markets, if not fresh, then frozen, or can usually be ordered from your local butcher.
Whole rabbits are harder to break than chickens, so ask your butcher to share it for you (you may need to call ahead so you can defrost one if you only have frozen rabbits). Or you can check out Hank’s steps to cutting a rabbit.

This is a fairly simple rabbit with the preparation of plums. You can easily disguise it with steamed tomatoes and / or olives. In some recipes, olives need to be soaked in Cognac and added at the very end, which would also be good.


  • A 3 to 3 1/2-pound rabbit, cut into six to eight portions
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 3-4 large shallots, sliced, about 1 Cup
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white plonk (or chicken broth with a tablespoon of vinegar)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) pitted plums (dried plums)
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 rabbit liver (optional, should be sold with rabbit)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (optional)


Fry the rabbit pieces in butter:

Heat 3 tablespoons Of olive oil in a large Dutch oven with a thick bottom (I used a 5 liter) over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter. Dry the rabbit pieces, sprinkle with salt and fry in batches on all sides in the pan.

Sautéed shallots, garlic, deglaze with white plonk:

Remove the rabbit pieces from the pan. Add the sliced shallots, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped garlic clove and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the white plonk and increase the heat to high. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the golden pieces off the bottom of the pan. Cook the plonk until it is reduced by at least half.

Add the rabbit, plums, thyme, bay leaf on the shallots to the pan, cover and cook:
Lower the heat to low (you may want to place the pot on the smallest burner in your oven). Add the rabbit pieces, prunes, thyme and bay leaf to the pan. Season with black pepper.

Cover tightly and cook for 45 minutes. (The cooking time assumes that you start with a rabbit brought to room temperature before cooking. If you use a rabbit directly from the refrigerator, cooking can take a couple of minutes. If you continue to lift the lid to check the rabbit, the required cooking time increases.)

Optional step with rabbit liver:

If desired, after cooking the rabbit, you can increase the taste of the Sauce with the liver of the rabbit. The liver should be contained with your butcher’s rabbit, just as whole chickens come with offal. (Don’t worry, the liver won’t let your dish taste like liver. You can even try a small amount to be sure. The liver acts as a “compound”, thickens the Sauce and makes it richer.)

Clean the rabbit liver with 1 tablespoon of vinegar (I used plonk vinegar, but cider or white vinegar will suffice). Remove the rabbit pieces, plums, thyme sprigs and bay leaves from the pan (discard the thyme and bay leaves) in a serving bowl.

Add the purified liver vinegar mixture to the Sauce in the pan and cook for another 10 minutes. (If the Sauce is still too thin, you can thicken it with cornstarch or flour.) Then pour the Sauce over and around the rabbit and plums.

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