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Portuguese Recipe: Braised Rabbit

Cooking 1 hour 30 Preparation 20 min 4 medium
Recipe type: Rabbit Cuisine: Portuguese

While Portugal’s maritime explorations and trading helped the kingdom accumulate immense wealth and access to rare spices, those benefits did not trickle down, so most ordinary people in Portugal made a living from the land and sea; whereby relying on simple rustic food that was sustaining, but also wonderfully flavorful. Ergo, we bring you this hearty and delicious rabbit recipe that’s been adapted from the legendary American author, David Leite

If, however, you’d like to enjoy this savory dish in Portugal, we’re more than happy to show you some fabulous jaunts! Drop us a line and well set up a private food tour just for you!


  • 1/2 lb thick-sliced slab of bacon, cut horizontally into 1-inch chunks
  • One 3 lb rabbit, sliced into 8 pieces, with the liver finely chopped and put aside
  • Marine salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 10 oz mushrooms (a mix of whatever you can find) thinly sliced
  • 3 medium yellow onions, halved and then cut into thin half moons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine (Portuguese preferred)
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with their juice
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus chopped parsley leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage


  1. Using a large pot, place it over medium head until hot. Add bacon. Let it sizzle until the fat is rendered and the meat is crunchy (approximately 18 min). Transfer the bacon onto a paper towel to drain the fat.
  2. Amply season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium high and sear the rabbit in the fat of the large pot until golden brown (6 to 8 minutes per side). Place rabbit on a plate and set aside.
  3. Add a touch of olive oil if the pot is dry and lower the heat to medium. Add onions, mushrooms and bay leaves. Periodically stir while cooking the ingredients, until deeply colored (18 to 22 minutes). Add garlic and cook for 1 another minute.
  4. Add wine, wait for 20 seconds, then add rabbit pieces. Squish tomatoes with your hands over the pot and drop them in, along with the parsley sprigs, oregano, and sage.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, adding the liver. Simmer, while covered, until the rabbit is cooked through ( approx 1 hour). Throw in the parsley and bay leaves. Taste the broth and season, if needed.
  6. Arrange the rabbit in the middle of the platter and spoon the mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes on top – leaving the liquid inside the pot. Garnish with the bacon. Drizzle some of the liquid over the top and serve the rest on the side. Sprinkle the dish with parsley just before serving.

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