Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary

Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary
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About This Recipe

Within the undulating vineyards of Napa, where grapevines dance under the warm embrace of the Californian sun, culinary inspirations are ripe for the picking. Such was the inception of my Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary. Traditionally considered a delicacy, rabbit meat holds a tender place in the heart of authentic recipes from eras bygone. With its soft, nuanced flavor, it became the canvas for this dish, echoing the rich legacy of Napa’s wine country.

Handpicked olives, bursting with briny undertones, and aromatic rosemary, whose scent wafts through the summer air in Napa, play a symphony of flavors in this dish. And what better to harmonize these notes than the ever-graceful Monastrell wine? Its deep ruby hue and notes of ripe berries, dark chocolate, and underbrush are the perfect accompaniment, cradling the flavors of the stew while highlighting its earthiness.

But, for those with a penchant for the local terroir, I’d nudge you towards a hidden gem: Ladera Vineyards. A bit off the tourist-beaten path, this wine vineyard nestles amidst the picturesque slopes of Howell Mountain, offering a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon, whose bright acidity and red fruit profile playfully cut through the richness of the rabbit.

Sourcing ingredients for this farm to table recipe can be a journey unto itself. Napa’s bustling farmer markets, like the one at Oxbow Public Market, provide not just ingredients but stories. Stories of farmers, artisans, and of the land itself. A side of farm-fresh roasted vegetables, perhaps sprinkled with some local goat cheese, adds layers to this meal. And for those with a sweet tooth, a fig and almond tart, using the luscious figs that Napa is so proud of, can be the perfect encore.

But Napa is not just about the big names everyone hears about. It’s about the cozy little spots, the tucked-away vineyards, and those quaint cafes where the wine menu feels like a handwritten letter from an old friend. Take, for instance, the lesser-known but equally charming Frog’s Leap. Their dedication to organic farming, dry farming, and hand-harvesting ensures each bottle is a chef wine, pairing splendidly with any recipes and especially delectable chef meals at home.

The beauty of this rabbit stew lies not just in its flavors but in its adaptability. It can be a hearty winter meal, or, paired with a fresh salad, an easy healthy dinner in the summer months. While most associate Napa with its renowned wines, as a valley chef, I find joy in interweaving the tales of our land, weather, nature, and history into my dish recipes.

The magic, after all, is not just in the dish but in its story. A story of Napa, its wine vineyards, and the chef recipe reviews from home cooks who, like me, find inspiration in every sunset over the vineyards, every whisper of the olive trees, and every bottle of wine uncorked in the embrace of this valley. The true essence of Napa lies in these moments, and this Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary is my ode to those moments. Cheers to a culinary journey that feels like a leisurely stroll through Napa's wine country!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Rabbit

Rabbit Meat: The Delicacy from Eras Bygone

Rabbit, a traditionally cherished ingredient, traces back its culinary origins to various cultures across the globe. Popular in European, African, and even some Asian cuisines, this lean white meat stands out due to its mild and slightly sweet flavor. As the hero ingredient of our Rabbit Stew, it brings forth a unique texture and a delicate taste, acting as a canvas for the medley of flavors introduced by the olives, rosemary, and wine. When sourcing rabbit, aim for farm-raised and ethically sourced options, which not only contribute to a more sustainable culinary practice but also yield a tender and flavorful result.

How to Properly Brown Rabbit for Maximum Flavor

Browning rabbit, or any meat, plays a pivotal role in developing the deep, rich flavors in a stew. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Dry the Rabbit: Before browning, always ensure your rabbit pieces are dry. Pat them using paper towels to remove any moisture.
  2. Season Generously: A liberal seasoning of salt and pepper ensures each piece is flavorful from within.
  3. Heat the Pan: A hot pan is crucial. Use a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and ensure the olive oil is shimmering but not smoking.
  4. Don’t Overcrowd: Brown the rabbit in batches if needed. Overcrowding the pan can lead to steaming instead of browning.
  5. Brown Evenly: Turn each piece to ensure all sides get an even, golden-brown sear. This caramelization introduces a depth of flavor to the stew.


  1. Can I substitute chicken for rabbit? Absolutely. While rabbit has its unique flavor, chicken can be a good alternative. Opt for chicken thighs for similar tenderness and cooking time.
  2. How can I store leftover rabbit stew? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, use a stovetop on low heat until warmed throughout.
  3. Is rabbit stew suitable for those with gluten allergies? The core ingredients of this recipe are gluten-free. However, always check the labels of store-bought ingredients like broth or wine for hidden gluten sources.
  4. What can I use instead of Napa Valley white wine? If you can't source a Napa Valley white wine, any good quality dry white wine will do. Alternatively, for a non-alcoholic version, consider using white grape juice with a splash of white wine vinegar.
  5. Which other herbs pair well with rabbit? Besides rosemary, rabbit pairs beautifully with thyme, sage, and even tarragon. You can experiment with a mix of these herbs for different flavor profiles.

Tips for Success

  1. Deglaze Effectively: After browning the rabbit and sautéing the onions, the process of deglazing with white wine lifts the flavorful caramelized bits from the bottom of the pot. Ensure you scrape well, integrating these flavors into the stew.
  2. Low and Slow: Cooking the rabbit stew on a low simmer for an extended period ensures the rabbit meat becomes fork-tender and the flavors meld beautifully. Refrain from rushing this step.
  3. Freshness Matters: Using fresh ingredients, especially herbs like rosemary and garnishes like parsley, can elevate the flavors of your stew. It's worth investing in the freshest ingredients you can find, echoing the farm-to-table ethos of Napa Valley.

With this enriched content, your readers are not only provided with a delectable Rabbit Stew recipe but also a deeper understanding of its key ingredients, techniques, and the heritage of Napa Valley's culinary landscape.

Recipe Overview

Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 whole rabbit, cut into serving pieces (about 3 lbs.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine (preferably from Napa Valley)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Season the rabbit pieces generously with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rabbit pieces and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze and capture any flavorful bits. Allow the wine to reduce by half.
  5. Return the browned rabbit pieces to the pot. Add the broth, olives, rosemary, bay leaf, cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, and carrots.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and let it simmer for about 1.5 hours or until the rabbit is tender and easily pulls apart.
  7. A few minutes before serving, stir in the fresh lemon zest.
  8. Serve the stew in bowls, garnished with fresh parsley.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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