25 Mar Rabbit Stew in the Maltese Style

Recipes, Substantial

Rabbit Stew in the Maltese Style

25 March 2021

PREP. TIME: 20min - Cook Time: 1 hour -   Serves: 4 - 6

Rabbit cooked in the Maltese style is simple, hearty fare that your table is bound to love!

Recipe Template

Ask your butcher to chop the rabbit into 6 - 8 pieces for you, though this is easy enough to do at home on a board with a sharp knife if you have to.  The dish is best cooked in a Dutch oven or other heavy based flame proof casserole with a fitted lid.  If necessary you can cook it in a large shallow pan on top of the stove over a medium simmer.

Serve with mashed potatoes, soft polenta or simply with fresh bread and butter and a salad of bitter greens.

If you have anything leftover - the sauce is delicious stirred through cooked pasta.


1 rabbit - cut into 6 - 8 portions

2 tablespoons Plain Flour

10 small brown or Tropea onions or shallots,

Extra virgin olive oil approx 100mls

2 thick slices of pancetta or guanciale if you can get it.

1 cup dry White Wine

1 tablespoon Tomato Paste - (Mutti brand is best)

1 1/2 cup Water

1 sprig of thyme

1 clove garlic

2 bay leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

500 g button mushrooms

1 cup pitted black olives

2 tablespoons chopped parsley or fresh rosemary


Measuring cups and spoons

Chopping board and kitchen knife

Heavy based, flame proof casserole or Dutch oven with a lid


Large heavy based shallow pan with a lid

Slotted spoon 

2 plates - one for the flour and one for the rabbit as it browns.

Medium size fry pan or saucepan

Large metal or wooden spoon for stirring


Step 1 Prep

Preheat the oven if using to 190 C.

Peel the onions, keep whole, with the small root attatched if you can.

Peel and crush the garlic with the flat part of the blade of a knife.

Wipe the mushrooms clean - keep whole

Step 2 Cook

Place the casserole or pan over over moderate heat and lightly cover the base of the pan with olive oil.  

Set a plate beside the stove and put the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper on this.

Lightly coat the rabbit pieces in the seasoned flour, shake off any excess and place a few pieces in the pan without crowding.  Cook on each side until golden - approx 3 - 5 minutes each side.

Remove the rabbit from the pan as it cooks - and continue cooking in batches.

When all of the rabbit is cooked - add the pancetta or guanciale to the pan and cook gently until the fat runs.  

Add the small onions and fry until the onions are beginning to colour - about 5 - 7 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Add the wine to the pan and let it bubble away until most of the liquid has disappeared.

Add 1/2 cup of the water and the tomato paste, stirring to combine and lift any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the rest of the water. 

Simmer gently for a minute.

Return the rabbit and any juices to the pan with the sprig of thyme, the bay leaf and half the olives.

Add a little more water or stock to the pan so that there is enough liquid in the pan - not too much though - it does not need to cover the rabbit.

Crunch up a piece of baking paper with your hands and cover the ingredients with the paper before placing the lid on the pan.

Either bake in the oven or keep on top of the stove at a steady simmer for about 1 hour.  The meat should be tender and tasty.

Step 3 The Mushrooms

While the rabbit is cooking, cook the mushrooms in a separate pan or saucepan.

Pour a little olive oil into the pan and toss the mushrooms in it for a few minutes.

Step 4  Assembly

Once the meat is tender, add the mushrooms and their juices to the pot.

Stir, season well with salt and pepper, stir again, cover and return to the oven or stove top for another 5 minutes.

Step 5 To Serve

Transfer the rabbit and vegetables and juices to a heated serving dish or platter and garnish with the rest of the olives, some chopped parsley or sprigs of fresh rosemary.


Recipe by Elizabeth Peddey 

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  • Susan Rogan says:

    Thanks Elizabeth, I grew up eating rabbit and recall a rabbit dish in Rome which was wonderful. I cook in winter when I can find them. Look forward to this one. Susan

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