Collops of Rabbits, with Champagne Wine

A neglected meat in modern America, rabbit is leaner than chicken and other fowl. The gentle cooking in butter and the final sauce accompanying this preparation is like a classic fricassee, a joy to the senses.

18th Century

Take the flesh of a couple of rabbits, cut it in slices, and with a knife pat it down so as to make it very thin, rub some butter all over a large stew pan, mixed with some green onion and some parsley minced very fine, stick the meat round, and fry it a minute or two over a brisk stove, giving it toss or two, let it lie in that til you have prepared your sauce, which must be thus done, put into a small stew pan a ladle of cullis, a glass of Champagne, pepper, salt and nutmeg, a small quantity of such herbs as you like, and a morsel of shallot, boil it five or six minutes, and put your rabbit in, make it only boiling hot, squeeze in the juice of a lemon or orange, and serve it up. The flesh of chickens make a neat dish in the same way.

Verral, William. “The Complete System of Cookery”

21st Century

  • 2 rabbits (or 2 large chicken breasts)
  • 1 stick of butter (1/4 lb.)
  • 4 to 5 small green onions (with about 4” of stalk) chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp. dried or fresh chopped parsley
  • 8 oz. of chicken broth
  • 8 oz. of champagne or white Rhine wine
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. ground rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 small shallot chopped fine
  • Juice of 1 orange or 1 lemon
  1. Cut the meat of the rabbit as big as you can off of the bone with a boning knife.
  2. With a meat tenderizing hammer or a rolling pin, gently pound the meat to make it flat. ¼ inch or so is sufficient.
  3. Take half of your butter and gently melt it in a large stew pan.
  4. Shake in your parsley and green onion and add the meat.
  5. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, then flip the meat over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove meat from pan, cover and set aside.
  6. Take the rest of your butter and put it into the pan, shake in the flour. Still over medium heat, stir butter and flour with a whisk to make a roux. Then by degrees, whisk in the broth and wine. The sauce will look like thin gravy.
  7. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, herbs and shallot and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. This will thicken the sauce a little more.
  8. Add the cooked meat to this, and squeeze in the juice of the orange or lemon. Stir for about 30 seconds then remove from heat.
  9. Plate the meat and pour over the sauce. Garnish as you please.

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6 Responses to “Collops of Rabbits, with Champagne Wine”

  1. December 2nd, 2013

    Liz Spry says:

    I know we have to eat meat but to eat game shows we only see animals as food and not as living being in their own right. We should have moved on from killing for killings sake. Also, even the best shot can wound an animal and leave it to die slowly.

    • December 2nd, 2013

      Historic Foodways says:

      Thank you for your comment on the “Collops of Rabbits” recipe on While we respect your opinion on meat consumption, please be aware that these recipes are designed to portray food choices and explain meal preparation in the 18th century. Meat was a necessary nutrition staple for the colonists. We appreciate your interest in our historic recipes and hope you will continue reading.

    • July 12th, 2014

      Marie C says:

      Killing game or domestic animals for consumption is not killing for killings sake, but to provide food. However, than you for expressing your opinion in a calm, respectful way. That creates dislogue.

  2. June 4th, 2014

    Dennis says:

    A huge hit! testing recipes for an 18th Cent. “Hunting Party” themed party in the fall.
    this is a new favorite anytime now!
    will send pics of party, planning from this site: rabbit, Indian Pudding, Chelsea buns, farce mushrooms, hedgehog (hopefully as good as some of Dennis’ famous creations), carrot puffs, onion & potato pie and probably peanut soup, plus others from other resources (venison, ox toungue, curried chicken, poached fish, and assorted side dishes)..
    Haven’t seen you guys in a while, we’ll stop by…
    Dennis from Fredericksburg

  3. February 1st, 2016

    Don says:

    Plan on making this for a dinner party along with other recipes from this great website. What I cannot find on any of the recipes that I am considering, is how many they are intended to serve. Is there some number used as a rule of thumb for these recipes?

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