A braised Rabbit with Chocolate Sauce and red wine served on a thick mashed potatoes bed. A traditional recipe of Catalonia called Conejo al chocolate.

Catalonia Flair

This is a creation inspired by a Catalan dish called Conejo al chocolate, which means rabbit in chocolate. This version is slightly different than the traditional recipe from Catalonia, Spain. I know the Basques have their own version also, with brandy instead of wine. In Catalonia, they use fortified wine called “Rancio” to make it, a bit similar to Porto. To make this recipe easier to reproduce at home I’ve just used a normal wine, but a Porto would do too. It makes the dish, in the end, a bit less sweet which personally I prefer.

180°C (350F)

Rabbit recipes are great but often underrated because just like chicken breasts the meat is so lean… cooking it the wrong way will dry it out fast and ruin it. For this recipe, no worries, it is a kind of stew so it won’t dry out the meat.

Butcher Lady

chocolate rabbit wine braised easter

I’ve picked up the rabbit at my favourite market, as always, and asked the lady what she does with the heads. “Is there anything to eat in it or is it for broth making only?” she recommended eating the cheeks and tongue. Then said you either love it or hate it, it’s a black or white thing… So, after the cooking process, I tried both and it surprisingly was a “grey” situation… the cheeks, I loved! A super tender and tasty part. As for the tongue… ouf! I’ll have to work on that one… I need a good tongue recipe to make peace with it, I’m open to invitations to share a rabbit tongue recipe here…

Chocolate from Guadeloupe

La maison du Cacao museum in Guadeloupe
La maison du Cacao museum in Guadeloupe

Chocolate is a great thickener for sauces, although it isn’t used much nowadays, I guess because of its price. My chocolate comes from the Mecca of Chocolate; Guadeloupe. I visited the “Maison du cacao” last year and couldn’t resist the urge to buy that big 1kg pure cacao brick. They drink the cacao paste; Gwo Kako, in Creole and they use the cacao butter to cook and also to moisturize their skin… I mean chocolate is so polyvalent. While at the museum, they made us a cacao drink with the Gwo Kako, cane sugar and water, never use milk! the lady said, no idea why… and simply with water, it was an “out of that world” experience, such a velvety and chocolaty delight! Ok, ok…. enough about that, let’s go back to our recipe…

The Final Step: the Picada

picada
Picada

The final step of the recipe ends with a “Picada“. This is “the number one” thing you learn in traditional Catalan cooking class and it makes a big difference to a dish. It’s a really small amount of paste added at the end of the cooking process of a stew or sauce made out of a mix of fresh herbs, nuts, garlic, olive oil, etc. Depending on the recipe you make, sometimes it’s just 2 or more ingredients. It’s a great trick to give your meal a final fresh touch and also helps thickens the leftover liquid. Usually, it’s by hand done in a mortar. The Picada stays optional but if you want to make this extra small step it will bring your meal the extra mile! Believe me, this Catalan little secret is well worth the extra 2 minutes of work.

So let’s make that chocolate rabbit!


Rabbit with Chocolate Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 832
Rabbit with Chocolate Sauce is a traditional Catalan dish consisting of braised rabbit then slowly cooked in fortified wine, broth with carrots, shallots, garlic and aromatics until tender. Finished with dark chocolate to thicken the sauce and give the dish un je ne sais quoi!

Ingredients

  • 2 rabbits (4 loins plus 4 legs)
  • 100 ml red wine (fortified wine better (porto, rancio, etc.))
  • 200 ml chicken broth
  • 60 g dark chocolate (75% or more)
  • 2 carrots (diced up)
  • 8 french shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 tbsp brandy (optional)
  • salt and pepper

The picada (the finishing touch)

  • 2 tbsp of flat leave parsley finely chopped
  • 10 skinless almond (or 1 tbsp in powder)
  • 1/2 garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions 

  • Start by cleaning the rabbit legs, cut the extra skin over the bone and push it down to show the bone.
  • Season with salt and pepper to the rabbit.
  • In a big iron cast, medium-high heat, brown those rabbit legs for 1 minute before adding the loins, cook until golden on each sides.
  • Add all the cut vegetables to the pan, cook at medium-high heat for two more minutes.
  • Add a splash of Brandy to deglaze the bottom of your pot.
  • Then, add the wine, broth and spices.
  • Bring to a soft simmer.
  • Insert in the oven at 180°C (350F°), partially covered, for 30-40 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven, take the pieces of rabbit out and reserve.
  • In a fine strainer filter the sauce into a pan.
  • Add the Picada and cook for another minute.
  • Stop the fire and add the chocolate, let it melt with the residual heat.
  • Put back the rabbit pieces into the sauce.

Notes

Serve on a thick mashed potatoes bed with a few chocolate crumbs on top. Enjoy!
Author: thefoodolic
Calories: 832kcal
Course: Plato principal
Cuisine: Catalan
Keyword: braised, chocolate, conejo al chocolate, rabbit, red wine, stew

Nutrition

Calories: 832kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 113g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 406mg | Sodium: 470mg | Potassium: 2392mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 5558IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 185mg | Iron: 22mg
Nutrition Facts
Rabbit with Chocolate Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
832
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
27
g
42
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
0.01
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
11
g
Cholesterol
 
406
mg
135
%
Sodium
 
470
mg
20
%
Potassium
 
2392
mg
68
%
Carbohydrates
 
22
g
7
%
Fiber
 
6
g
25
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Protein
 
113
g
226
%
Vitamin A
 
5558
IU
111
%
Vitamin C
 
11
mg
13
%
Calcium
 
185
mg
19
%
Iron
 
22
mg
122
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Almond and pineapple cold soup (ajo blanco de piña)

    • I know… it’s odd at first but once it hits the tastebuds it’s another story! Let say it’s not a full on chocolate flavour neither…

  2. LOVING THIS. I mean, it’s an interesting and underappreciated recipe in so many ways (rabbit AND savoury chocolate), and there are so many cool cultural and culinary tidbits here I didn’t know about. I hadn’t heard of picada before, so that’s awesome too. It makes sense really, and you see those ‘finishing touch’ spice/herb blend used in so many food cultures. Seriously, I would dive right in to this.

    Oh, and one last note – exactly how much tongue does one get from a rabbit? Heh, I can’t say that I’m imagining you have much to work with.

    Cheers.

  3. Markus Mueller Reply

    Totally loving this! I was first introduced to rabbit through competition cooking while in cooking school, and I can honestly say I haven’t really eaten it since then. Simply for the fact that all the recipes I have for rabbit are not really family meal friendly and geared more towards fine dining. This looks like a delicious hearty meal that would be perfect cooked over a fire! I’ll have to try that out.

  4. You are striking a chord with me here! I’ve never worked with rabbit but always wanted to, and I’ve always wanted to make a savoury chocolate sauce but have never gotten around to it. This dish look absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

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