Rabbit in a Red Wine Sauce on Mashed Potatoes

There is something absolutely succulent about rabbit slowly simmering in a red wine sauce until the meat falls off the bone. If this isn’t a winter classic, we don’t know what is! This red wine sauce is rich and complex with the varied herbs and many pearl white onions that are left whole in the dish. We serve this dish with lightly buttered French green beans and our Balsamic Glazed Carrots, click HERE for that recipe.

Rabbit in a Red Wine Sauce

This red wine sauce is a favourite of ours, and because you use a whole bottle of red wine, the type of wine that you use is important because its taste will dominate your dish. We used a Campo Viejo Tempranillo 2010, from the Rioja region in Spain, which pairs well with most meat dishes. The wine has notes of red berries and vanilla, but it isn’t too sweet, it’s still intense due to its pronounced rich aromas and flavour. We recommend that you buy two bottles, one for the recipe and a second to enjoy with your dinner afterwards, that’s what we did!

Rabbit in a Red Wine Sauce on Mashed Potatoes
Served with Balsamic Glazed Carrots & Buttered French Green Beans



Rabbit in a Red Wine Sauce on Mashed Potatoes

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Recipe type: Main


  • 1 (2-3 lb) rabbit
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, just leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine, we used Campo Viejo Tempranillo
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 ¼ tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 lb pancetta, cubed
  • Butter
  • 36 small white pearl onions, peeled and left whole
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, just leaves
  • 12 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Buttered French green beans, to serve (optional)
  • Balsamic Glazed Carrots (see recipe above)
  • 6 large white potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup cooking cream
  • Salt and pepper


  1. MARINADE: Cut the rabbit by removing all 4 legs, and cutting the body in 2-4 parts depending on the size of the rabbit
  2. We remove the innards from the central cavity of the rabbit, and leave them intact with the rabbit meat, you can choose to discard them but they add a gamey taste to the dish that we love
  3. In a deep dish, using your hands, toss the rabbit with the marinade. Cover and let refrigerate overnight
  4. Marinate the rabbit for 6 to 24 hours before cooking
  5. RED WINE SAUCE: Whisk the red wine, vinegar and sugar together. Set aside
  6. Pour flour on a plate and cover the rabbit pieces, shake off excess flour. Set floured rabbit pieces aside
  7. Place the pancetta in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute, strain
  8. In a large heavy casserole (we use stoneware), heat the butter and add the pancetta, and onions, brown for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper
  9. Using a slotted spoon transfer the onions and pancetta to a bowl and set aside
  10. To the fat in the casserole add the floured rabbit pieces in one layer, cook, turning the pieces once until browned. This should take 5 minutes, in the last 3 minutes add the garlic
  11. Return the onions and pancetta to the pot with the rabbit, cook for 5 minutes
  12. Add the wine mixture and cloves. Add the parsley, thyme, sage and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook over low heat for 1 ½ hours
  13. While the rabbit is cooking, prepare the mashed potatoes
  14. After the rabbit has cooked for 1 ½ hours, uncover and cook for 10-15 more minutes to reduce the sauce
  15. MASHED POTATOES: Cover potatoes in water, add salt and bring to a boil, simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain until dry
  16. While the potatoes are boiling, in a small saucepan heat up the cream and butter until warm. Add the potatoes back to the large pot that they were boiled in, pour the warmed cream and butter over them, and mash until smooth
  17. Season with salt and pepper, add more butter if necessary (it almost always is!) and keep mashing until desired consistency is met
  18. Serve the rabbit in red wine sauce over the mashed potatoes, with a side of buttered French green beans (optional) and our Balsamic Glazed Carrots (see recipe above)

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