On the last night Dave was here…a long long time ago, in the year of 2013 and month of November, I made a special meal to celebrate his birthday.
Of course I had no candles in the house so we had Dave blow out a match that I held in my hand above his plate of Paleo Rabbit Cacciatore and Meatballs with Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Keepin’ it classy. ;)
It took a little bit of research to figure out what to do with the rabbit but it was totally worth the time. You see, I had never cooked rabbit before this meal but thanks to the help of the interwebs I found this fantastic reference and it was clear sailing from there.
Once I knew how to cut up a rabbit then I decided I wanted to cook it in tomato sauce.
Then I looked at what else I had and decided that mashed sweet potatoes and meatballs would make the Paleo Rabbit Cacciatore a complete meal.
Typically I would share the recipe for just Paleo Rabbit Cacciatore but I decided this time to share how I prepared this entire meal.
While I was in the middle of cooking, Jeff’s parents stopped by to say Happy Birthday to Dave. When Jeff’s mom asked what I was making, I felt bad saying rabbit because not only is she an animal lover and a vegetarian, she also has two pet bunnies at home.
If you’ve never tried rabbit, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s not really an every day dish. It’s similar in flavor to chicken but the bones are quite petite and delicate to handle.
Broaden your horizons with a little rabbit on your plate. Look in the freezer section of your grocery store, seek out a farm near you or order online. This here wascally wabbit came from U.S. Wellness Meats. :)
- 1 rabbit, fresh or frozen and thawed
- 2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for pork
- sea salt, to taste
- coarse ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 head garlic, cloves minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1lb ground pork
- garlic powder, to taste
- onion powder, to taste
- 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 3.5oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- Cut rabbit into pieces. (Here‘s a good reference for how to do this.)
- Add sweet potatoes to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork tender.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Season rabbit pieces with sea salt and black pepper on all sides. Add the rabbit to the pot and brown on all sides. Transfer browned pieces to a clean plate.
- Add garlic and onions to the pot and reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, water and wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to lift any brown bits that are stuck. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
- Check sweet potato for doneness. Remove from heat, drain and keep covered.
- Add rabbit pieces back to pot, stir to combine, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Roll ground pork into small meatballs using the palms of your hands. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all meatballs to the skillet and season with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Cover and cook. Stir once after 5 minutes then cover and cook, reduce heat to medium-low if necessary.
- Transfer rabbit pieces to a new clean plate.
- Add fresh rosemary, fresh thyme and shiitake mushrooms to the pot, stir to combine. Simmer until slightly reduced, for 5 minutes.
- Add the rabbit and meatballs into the pot and simmer until heated through, 3-5 minutes.
- Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes in the pan they were cooked in.
- Remove the rabbit pot from heat and prepare to serve. Add a scoop of sweet potatoes to a plate, top with a piece of rabbit, 3-5 meatballs and some sauce and serve with a side salad.
- Enjoy! :)