Rabbit Ragu With Roasted Tomatoes 8.000

Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Top Tomato 2014 Aug 20, 2014

This winning dish manages to be hearty yet not heavy, and it uses canned and fresh tomatoes to great effect.

You’ll need a 5 1/2-to-6-quart slow cooker for braising the rabbit. Alternatively, it can be braised in a Dutch oven, for 3 1/2 hours at 325 degrees. If you prefer to eat the ragu by itself, start with a 4-pound rabbit.

Serve over pasta or polenta, with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Make Ahead: The rabbit needs to cook for 8 hours in the slow cooker; overnight works well. The ragu can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • One 3-pound rabbit, cut into 5 pieces (along the joints)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • Two 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 cup red wine, preferably pinot noir
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • Water (optional)
  • 12 ripe plum or Roma tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste


Arrange the rabbit pieces in the slow cooker. Add the onion, 4 of the garlic cloves, the canned tomatoes and their juices, red wine and sage. If the meat is not covered, add enough water to do so. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

Transfer the rabbit pieces to a big bowl to cool, reserving the liquid in the slow cooker. Discard the bones and shred the meat. Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the liquid into a medium pot or Dutch oven; discard the solids.

Cook the liquid over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes or until it is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet (or two). Arrange the plum or Roma tomatoes cut side up on the sheet(s). Drizzle with the oil, then sprinkle with the fennel seed. Roast for 1 hour, then add to the pot along with any oil from the baking sheet(s).

Mince the remaining 3 cloves of garlic and add to the pot, along with the tomato paste. Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree until fairly smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in the shredded rabbit meat until well incorporated. The ragu should be more meaty than saucy.

Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

From Arlington, Va., resident Karin Schultz. Correction: An earlier version of this recipe omitted 1 1/2 teaspoons of tomato paste from the list of ingredients. This version has been updated.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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