Thursday, April 12, 2012

Citrus Braised Rabbit

Many years ago, when I was in South America (the duty free zone of Panama City, Panama if you want me to get specific), I encountered two boys selling one of the best meals I've ever had in my life from a street cart on the side of the road.  The older brother was approx 13 or so and his younger brother was about 10.  On their cart they had a flat top griddle where the older brother fried up bits of chicken, onion, and cilantro that were all marinated in a delicious citrus marinade and served up in a half pita.  His little bro sat beside him squeezing oranges into fresh juice for the marinade but also as a beverage to accompany the dish.  The price of this meal was $2.  My friend and I ate two straight off and after a couple hours of shopping and wandering we decided to go back and get more before leaving because they were just that damn good!  I think I had 4 or 5 pitas and a couple glasses of OJ that day.  Delicious!

This is my attempt at recreating the flavors that the marinade brought to the poultry.  I decided to use rabbit instead of chicken partly because I had rabbit in the freezer but also because why not post a rabbit recipe in honor of Easter?  Stupid bunny always leaving damn eggs all over the place!  I'll fix him!  Anyway, this marinade would work perfectly with chicken or pork so feel free to substitute if you feel squeamish eating Thumper.

Since I can't go too long without listening to them I decided to compliment this meal with some Pixies.  More specifically, Debaser.  It's a classic from my childhood and one that never fails to get my blood going! - justin

Citrus Braised Rabbit
Time: 8 hr marinade, 1 hr cook time
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 6
  • 1 whole skinned rabbit, 2-3 lbs, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, approx 2 large oranges
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (you can sub white wine vinegar if you don't have white balsamic)
  • 3 tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
Place your rabbit in a large ziplock freezer bag for marinating, or bowl if you prefer.  Combine orange juice, zest, salt, black pepper, basil, white balsamic vinegar, shallots, celery seed, and coriander and place in marinating vessel with rabbit.  Allow to marinate 6-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring oven safe skillet to temp over burner on medium flame and add the olive oil.  Remove rabbit from marinade, reserving the liquid, and brown in skillet, approx 7-10 minutes per side.  After rabbit is browned, add reserved marinade and broth to skillet and bring to a simmer, approx 2-3 minutes.  Place the skillet in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer rabbit to a plate.  Dissolve cornstarch in the water.  Simmer the liquid in the skillet over medium burner and add the cornstarch slurry.  Stir with whisk until sauce thickens.  Drizzle sauce over rabbit to serve.


  1. Just made this for the wife and die for! I had a large rabbit so I took the tenderloins and made hassenpfeffer to go along with it...which we LOVE. Didn't even get into it, couldn't stop eating this recipe.

    I could see how you could do it with chicken and I'll probably try that, but if you have rabbit and are looking for an excellent recipe...make this.

    Thanks for posting it, it will be a staple in my cookbook.

  2. So awesome to hear that you made it and even better, that you loved it! I (jen) am not a huge fan of rabbit, but when Justin made this, I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It's a keeper for us too. Thanks so much!