Stuffat Tal-Fenek (Maltese Braised Rabbit)

This cozy and rustic Maltese stew is studded with carrots, potatoes, sweet garlic confit, and perfectly cooked rabbit. A combination of fresh thyme and rosemary add complexity and stand up to the robust red-wine-and-tomato-based braise. Serve this saucy stew with a large piece of crusty bread for optimal sopping. The recipe is from chef Matthew Hamilton, the executive sous chef of March in Houston. June Rodil and Mark Sayre, who lead the wine  program at March, suggest pairing this recipe with a 2019 Ca'n Verdura Negre, from Binissalem-Mallorca, Spain. "The rich tomato-based sauce for the Stuffat Tal-Fenek is begging for a red with rich flavor and dark fruit, but with lift," they say. "Dominated by Mantonegro (an indigenous Mallorcan grape), this crunchy wine provides enough depth for a high-tone braise."

Stuffat Tal-Fenek (Maltese Braised Rabbit)
Photo: Photo by Cedric Angeles / Prop Styling by Stephanie Bohn
Active Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 50 mins
4 to 6 servings


Garlic Confit

  • 2 cups peeled garlic cloves (from 6 garlic heads)

  • 2 cups grapeseed oil

Braised Rabbit

  • 1 (about 3-pound) whole rabbit with offal (kidneys and heart)

  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (from 2 medium [8-ounce] onions), divided

  • 3 tablespoons garlic confit oil, divided

  • 1 ¾ cups peeled and chopped carrots (from 4 medium [3-ounce] carrots)

  • 3 tablespoons garlic confit cloves (about 15 cloves)

  • 2 ½ tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 ¼ cups dry red wine (such as Garnacha)

  • 6 cups chicken stock or rabbit stock

  • 1 ½ cups tomato puree (from 1 [28-ounce] can)

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Additional Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and roughly chopped fresh oregano, for garnish

  • Crusty bread, for serving


Make the garlic confit:

  1. Place garlic cloves and oil in a small saucepan, making sure garlic is completely covered with oil and no cloves float to the surface. Heat over medium until tiny bubbles start to form. Reduce heat to very low, and cook, undisturbed, until garlic is tender and light golden, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Transfer garlic confit to a sterilized lidded jar, ensuring that garlic cloves are completely submerged in oil. Seal jar, and store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Make the braised rabbit:

  1. Remove kidneys and heart from cavity of rabbit, and set aside. Cut front and hind legs from body. Cut behind the rib cage to isolate the saddle, and cut off the tail. (The rib cage, tail bone, and pelvic bones can be reserved and used to make stock.) Cut the saddle in half crosswise, cutting in between the vertebrae. Dry rabbit legs and saddle pieces with paper towels; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.

  2. Place rabbit kidneys and heart and 2/3 cup chopped onions in a food processor. Process until a smooth paste forms, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Set aside.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons garlic confit oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over high. Add half of the rabbit pieces, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove rabbit pieces, and set aside. Add remaining 1 tablespoon garlic confit oil to Dutch oven, and repeat browning process with remaining rabbit pieces. (Do not wipe Dutch oven clean.)

  4. Reduce heat under Dutch oven to medium, and add remaining 1 1/3 cups chopped onions; cook, stirring often, until translucent and starting to caramelize, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in carrots and 3 tablespoons garlic confit cloves, and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and onion-offal puree; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high, and stir in wine. Cook, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven, until bottom of Dutch oven is nearly dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in stock, tomato puree, honey, and bay leaves.

  5. Return rabbit to Dutch oven; bring to a boil over medium-high. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a low simmer; simmer 30 minutes. Stir in potatoes, rosemary, thyme, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook until rabbit is easily pulled apart with a fork and potatoes are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

  6. Taste braised rabbit, and add additional salt if desired. Remove and discard bay leaves. Remove Dutch oven from heat. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with parsley and oregano, and serve with crusty bread.

Make Ahead

Garlic confit can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.


Rabbit with offal is available online at

Suggested Pairing

Ca'n Verdura Negre

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