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the national dish of Malta - Stuffat tal-fenek

Recipe: The national dish of Malta - Stuffat tal-Fenek (rabbit stew)

Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6


  • 2,5 kg rabbit around 2 skinned and jointed with or without liver and kidneys
  • 550 ml red wine around 3/4 of a bottle
  • 1 l water
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 400 g canned whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 carrots
  • 7 potatoes
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • oregano optional
  • rosemary optional


  • Marinate the rabbit in the wine, garlic and bay for an hour or two, or if possible the night before cooking. Cover and chill in the fridge
  • Finely chop the onions, mince the garlic and slice the carrots
  • When ready to cook, remove the rabbit joints from the marinade, shaking off excess liquid. Heat the olive oil over a high heat in a heavy-based casserole or pan and sear the rabbit on all sides until lightly browned (about 4 minutes on each side). Remove and set aside
  • Lower the heat and add the onion and some fresh bay leaves to the pan. Brown the onion gently for around 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to gently fry for another minute
  • Add the whole canned tomatoes mashed up, and increase the heat. Cook for around 5 minutes stirring a little, then add the marinade and bring to boil. Return the rabbit joints to the pan, give a good shake and top up with water to just cover the rabbit. Cover, return to the boil, and then reduce to a medium simmer (gently bubbling)
  • After half an hour, add the sliced carrots, potatoes and tomato puree and season, shake the pot gently or stir to ensure the vegetables are covered with liquid. Continue to simmer the stew for around another half an hour.
  • After one hour, prop the lid half off to allow the sauce to thicken up. Check the rabbit after 15 minutes – the stew is ready when the rabbit is just falling off the bone and the root vegetables are tender.
  • Serve with fennel-seed and olive oil-roast potatoes or regular mashed potatoes and with white crusty bread to mop up the delicious and rich sauce.
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