Tomato Braised Rabbits with Smashed Potatoes



This is a great fall transition dish because good, local tomatoes and potatoes from the summer are still available. But the dish is hearty and filling and will warm your house as it slowly cooks in the oven. Like all braises and stews, allowing it time to sit in its braising liquid overnight will only improve the flavor. The next day simply reheat and serve as described.

  • 8 rabbit legs
  • 2 C white wine or hard cider
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 med onions
  • ¼ C tomato paste
  • 4 C diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 1 bu thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 qt or 1-½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
  • ½ C olive oil
  • 1 bu parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 300F
  2. Blot the legs dry and then season generously with salt and pepper
  3. In a large Dutch oven, heat a glug of neutral oil and sear the rabbit legs until deeply brown. Be sure to brown them in one layer and not overload the pan. If the pan isn’t large enough, brown the legs in batches
  4. While the legs are browning, slice the onions thinly
  5. Cut the garlic in half around its equator
  6. Tie the herbs together as a bundle with butchers twine or a tender stem of the thyme
  7. Remove the legs from the pan and set aside
  8. Add the alcohol and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits and reducing the liquid until syrupy
  9. Add the tomato paste and fry for a couple of minutes in the syrup
  10. Add the onions and toss to combine with the tomato paste
  11. Add the garlic and herb bundle and pour the diced tomatoes over the whole lot
  12. Lay the rabbit legs over the tomato onion mixture with the larger legs around the outside of the pan and the smaller front legs in the center
  13. Cover with a tight fitting lid and braise until the rabbit meat is tender enough to be pulled easily with a fork (about 2 hours)
  14. Remove the herb bundle and the garlic. Squeeze the cooked garlic cloves out of the skin and into the sauce if you like.
  15. Meanwhile boil the potatoes in heavily salted water until tender then drain
  16. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet, top with another sheet and then press the potatoes until they smash
  17. Just before serving heat the olive oil until just below smoking fry the potatoes in the olive oil seasoning liberally with salt and pepper
  18. Toss the crispy potatoes with the parsley and serve topped with a front and hind leg to each person and a big ladle of the sauce over the top