I wanted to try something new with our rabbit meat and love mushrooms.  So what a perfect recipe to try.  Yes the recipe has a lot of steps and you can adjust some to your level of time and preference.  For example I am not sure I heated the part 2 Marsala wine separately at all.  I also think I made a roux and added the sauce to it not vise versa.  You will see.  I will adjust this as I refine my next attempt later this month, and hopefully take pictures.  PS you can also use chicken ifyou don't have rabbit.

Braised Rabbit With Marsala Wine and Wild Mushrooms

Part 1- Cooking the rabbit and beginning of sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
3 cloves garlic peeled
2 rabbits, either whole or cut into serving pieces, I used thighs only for this. (I do 6-8 thighs)
2 cups Marsala wine
6 large dried porcini  mushrooms, or whatever your preference (but must be dried)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (sub 1 tsp dry if you don't have fresh)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter divided

Part 2- sauce and more sauce- completion
8 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced thinly (or whatever your preference, original recipe called for Shiitake)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced onions
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups Marsala wine, divided
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
Thick soy sauce
Roux brun made with 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in the bottom of your stockpot or large dutch oven on medium heat. When it is hot, add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic cloves, and cook, stirring until the onion is translucent and everything is fragrant.

Meanwhile soak the dried mushrooms in just enough hot water to cover plus some.  Once re-hydrated remove and chop.  I reserve the juice for adding to the sauce. 

Lay the rabbit down on top of the vegetables, and pour the first two cups of Marsala wine over everything.  Then add enough water to just barely cover the rabbit.  Add the re-hydrated mushrooms, bay leaf, the first measure of thyme, the teaspoon of salt and the freshly ground pepper. Bring to a nice slow simmer, slow braising it the key. Do not allow to boil (most important to cooking rabbit). Turn the heat down and allow to cook uncovered for 1 1/2 hours at the same slow simmer (I cooked for 2-3 hours depending).  Test the rabbit meat–if it is properly fork tender (pulls away from the bone easily but not falling off the bone), remove it from the pot, drizzling a bit of the cooking liquid over it to keep it moist as it cools. 

Turn the heat up on the liquid in the pot and bring to a boil. Cook the stock down until it is reduced by half.

While the stock is reducing, melt the 1 tablespoon of the first measure of butter in a saute pan over medium high heat and allow to become foamy. Then, add 1/4 of the fresh mushrooms, and cook, stirring until they are lightly browned and tender and very fragrant and delicious. Set aside in a bowl. Repeat for the remaining mushrooms, using one tablespoon of butter and 1/4 of the mushrooms for each pan.

Take the second measure of butter and melt it in the same pan you cooked the mushrooms in. Add the onions, salt lightly and cook until they are a deep golden color. Add the garlic and keep cooking and stirring until the onions are a medium brown color and the garlic is golden and fragrant. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of the second measure of Marsala wine. Add the onions and garlic to the mushrooms which are set aside.

The remaining 1 1/2 cups of Marsala wine goes into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, simmer until it reduces by half. Turn off heat and set aside.

When the stock has reduced by half, set a colander over a large bowl, and scoop all of the vegetables out of the stock. Squeeze out the dried mushrooms into the bowl, and then squish the cooked vegetables in the colander so that all of their juices run into the bowl. Discard the dried mushrooms and vegetables, rinse out the colander and line it with cheesecloth. (NOTE: I actually kept the cooked vegetables and mushrooms and put them on top of polenta and then served the rabbit and sauce over it).  Pour the remaining stock into the bowl, straining it into the cheesecloth lined colander. Wash out your pot and put it back on low heat. Add the strained stock, the reduced Marsala wine and bring to a boil.

Heat your roux up in a small saute pan until it is bubbling. Scrape the roux into the boiling stock and whisk like mad until it thickens nicely. Whisk in the tomato paste until it is completely combined. Stir in the sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions. If the sauce is too pale, add a teaspoon or so of thick soy sauce.

Remove the rabbit meat from the bones and add to the sauce, making certain to not accidentally slip any bones into the pot.

Stir the thyme and rosemary into the sauced rabbit, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over garlic mashed potatoes or polenta.

This should feed up to six or eight hungry adults.

Modified from a recipe off http://www.tigersandstrawberries.com

Sausages    The following recipes can be made using other meats such as pork or turkey, you may however, want to increase the salt for pork according to your preferences. 

    Breakfast Sausage

  • 3 pounds ground rabbit meat  (or preferred meat)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

    In a large bowl, combine the meat, salt, sage, pepper, sugar, thyme, marjoram, cloves, and crushed red pepper.  Mix well using your hands.  Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight to meld the flavors.  Use within 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to three months.

    Italian Sausage

  • 4 pounds ground rabbit meat  (or preferred meat)
  • 4 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (add more for hot sausage)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted garlic mashed through garlic press
   In a large bowl, combine all above ingredients and mix well with your hands.  Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight to meld the flavors.  Use within 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to three months.

    Cranberry Sausage

  • 2 pounds ground rabbit meat  (or preferred meat)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liquer
  • 2 Tablespoons lemonjcello
  • 1/2 dried cranberries
   In a large bowl, combine all above ingredients, mix well using your hands.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to meld the flavors.  Use within 2 to3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

    Herbes de Provence

  • 3 pounds ground rabbit meat  (or preferred meat)
  • 4 teaspoons Herbes de Provence blend
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons small capers, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
   In a large bowl, combine all above ingredients, mix well using your hands.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to meld the flavors.

    Greek Lukanika Sausage

  • 5 pounds ground rabbit meat  (or preferred meat)
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon marjoram
  • 2 Tablespoons Mediterranean Mystic
  • 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh grated orange peel
  • 1 Tablespoon dried orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup red wine, sherry, or metaxa
   In a large bowl, combine all above ingredients, mix thoroughly with hands.  Cover and refrigerate overnight to meld flavors.

Polish Kielbasa

  • 5 pounds ground rabbit meat  (or preferred meat)
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried summer
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
   In a large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly using your hands.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to meld the flavors.

Roman Style Sausage

  • 4 pounds ground rabbit meat  (or preferred meat)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion, sauteed and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
   Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to meld the flavors.
Other Ground Rabbit Recipes     Rabbit Tacos
   Use ground rabbit in place of hamburer and add your favorite taco seasoning packets.

Rabbit Burgers

    Mix parsley, minced onion, salt, and pepper in with ground rabbit meat and add bread crumbs and egg(s) to help hold it together.  Make patties and pan fry or grill.

    Italian Meatballs

   Use the above Italian sausage recipe and add 1large egg and 1/2 cup bread crumbs per pound of meat.  Form small balls and fry.  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce, spaghetti, on sub sandwiches, or (our favorite) Roasted Red Pepper Pasta.

    Rabbit Gyros

  • Greek Loukanika sausage
  • Greek Flat Bread Pitas or Pocket Pitas
  • Feta cheese
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce (optional)
  • Greek cucumber sauce
  • black olives, sliced (optional)

    Make the Greek Loukanika sausage.  Pan fry small oblong patties in olive oil.  Drain on a paper towel.
   Loukanika sausage is also really good served with lemon sauce, spinach, and white rice.
Sauces     Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

  • 2 12oz jars roasted red peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped and sauteed in olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cop grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups Alfredo sauce
  Blend all ingredients, except onions, in a food processor or with a hand blender in a large sauce pan to pulverize into a sauce.  Add onions and bring to a boil.  Mix with 3 cups of hot Alfredo sauce to make it creamy.  Makes enough for 2 pounds of pasta.

    Lemon Sauce

  • 1 cube butter
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • juice from 2-3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup whipping cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
   Melt butter.  Saute onion and garlic.  Lower temperature to medium low.  Stir in eggs and other remaining ingredients.  Add whipping cream for a creamier sauce.  Stir constantly until thickened.