Madeira Island Rabbit

Madeira Island Rabbit
Serves 6
Prep Time – 1 hour
Cook Time – 2 hours

1 whole rabbit – Cut 8 ways

Sifted flour – ½ cup
Salt and pepper to taste
Yellow Onion roughly chopped – 1 cup
Garlic – 6 cloves, smashed
Fennel – 1 cup sliced

Madeira – 1 cup
Bay leaf – 1
Sliced Choriço Sausage-one cup
Baby carrots – 8 ounce
Small turnips, cut in half  – 8 ounce

¼ cup finely chopped Parsley
Thyme sprigs – 3


Season the flour with salt and black pepper. Toss the rabbit parts in the flour and shake off excess. Heat a small amount of oil (not olive oil) to medium heat in the pot or Dutch oven. Add the rabbit pieces and lightly brown them on both sides. Remove the browned rabbit and reserve. Add the onions, fennel, and garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and pince. Deglaze the pan with Madeira and reduce by half.. Add the rabbit thighs, sausage turnips, carrots, bay leaf and the stock. Gently simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. Garnish with reserved chopped parsley and serve.


Bartholomeu Perestrella was the father of Phillippa Perestrella Moniz, the wife of Christopher Columbus. Bartholomeu was an explorer and one of the discoverers of the Madeira Islands. When he was appointed Governor General of Porto Santo, one of the larger islands in the group, he brought a single, apparently pregnant, rabbit to Porto Santo and rabbits soon over-ran the island. It wasn’t until sugar cane was imported to the island that anything of value was able to resist the infestation.

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