Pan Roasted Rabbit with Crushed Blackberry-Ancho Sauce

8 servings

Wine suggestion
Pinot Noir, which is the most flexible of red food wines, is particularly well suited for this dish. Many examples are light enough not to crush the delicate rabbit flavor. Try an American rather that French Pinot, as the California and Oregon examples typically have sweeter berry flavors, making for a better complement with this sauce.

Ancho Purée

  • 3 ancho chiles
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine the ancho chiles and water in a small bowl and let stand 30 minutes. Drain well, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove the seeds and stems and purée in a food processor with the garlic, cilantro and 1/2 cup of the liquid, adding more if needed.

Blackberry Ancho Sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 small yellow onions, finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup cranberry juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup ancho purée (see recipe)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries

Melt the butter and oil in a medium or large noncreative saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the celery, carrot and onions until the celery and carrot are tender and the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the peppercorns and continue cooking 2 more minutes.

Add the port and red wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the cranberry juice concentrate, ancho purée, sugar and stock, stirring constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture is reduced by half, strain, season to taste with salt and pepper and fold in the blackberries.


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cascabel chile powder
  • 8 rabbit loins, 6 ounces each, boned and butterflied
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, washed and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, chile powder and season with salt and pepper. Season the rabbit loins with salt and pepper.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the spinach for 30 seconds, shock in ice water and squeeze dry. Divide the spinach among the rabbit loins, placing it in the center of each. Roll up the meat and tie with kitchen string. Dredge the rolls in the flour mixture and shake off the excess.

In a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until almost smoking and sear the rolls until slightly crusty, about 1 minute on each side. Place the pan in the oven and cook the meat an additional 8 minutes for medium. Let rest before slicing.