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Rabbit tagine with preserved lemons

  • 20 minutes
  • 1¾ hours
  • 8
Rabbit tagine with preserved lemons

Once when I was on talkback radio doing a Q&A session, I recieved a number of calls about wild rabbit. It reminded me how little we use this meat - surprising since it has such a wonderful flavour, as well as being low in fat. Here I've joined it with spices and dried fruits to make an interesting twist on tagine, a traditional Moroccan dish.


  • 2 medium rabbits, well rinsed and patted dry
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1cm piece of fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads or 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 onions, peeled and quartered
  • ½ large butternut pumpkin
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 12-16 whole dried apricots
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 12-16 black olives
  • approximately 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander


  1. Cut the rabbit into small pieces. You can leave the bone on if you wish, or cut the meat from the bone. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
  2. In a food processor, blend the garlic, cumin, ginger, paprika, saffron and half the oil into a smooth paste.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based frying pan and brown the rabbit pieces over a high heat so they are golden. Transfer to a casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining rabbit. Do not add it all at once, as it lowers the temperature of the pan and the meat will stew, rather than brown.
  4. Once all the rabbit has browned, add the spicy paste to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the spices to release their oils. Do not over cook as the garlic will burn. Add the cinnamon stick, onions, pumpkin and stock and bring to the boil.
  5. Transfer to the casserole. Cover and bake at 160ºC for 1 hour. Add apricots and cook a further 30-45 minutes until the meat is tender.
  6. Remove the pulp from the preserved lemon and slice the skin thinly. Rinse well in water and stir into the tagine with the olives and coriander. Serve in deep bowls accompanied with couscous.

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