Easter Sunday may coincide with April Fools' Day this year, but rabbit in spiced chocolate sauce isn't Philippa Davis' idea of a chef's joke

Step away from the gaudily wrapped chocolate egg and enjoy Philippa Davis’ rabbit in spiced chocolate sauce for your cocoa consumption instead. Chocolate and bunnies are Easter staples, but how about serving them together? And no, this is not an April Fool.

Spring lamb may be popular,  but don’t be too quick to choose your Easter joint. Our stuffed and rolled shoulder of hogget makes an impressive lunch for Easter Sunday. And if you’re after a more traditional chocolate fix, our chocolate, ginger and orange Easter cake is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.


Chocolate and bunnies are often associated with Easter but rarely in the way I show you here. This sauce is based on the Mexican idea of mole but it’s less time consuming and much easier to find ingredients. Slow cooking the rabbit in liquid helps yield tender, flavoursome results. If you have never tried a chocolate sauce with meat, now is the time to do so.

Serves 4

  • 1 rabbit, jointed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra
  • 2 white onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika and 1 tsp smoked hot paprika OR 1-2 tsp ancho paste, depending how hot you like it
  • 2 oranges
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 50g raisins, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp crunchy or smooth peanut butter
  • 30g chocolate

To serve

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • Fresh coriander

In a large casserole dish (one with a lid), season then sear the rabbit on all sides in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Remove and leave to one side.

Add the extra 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan with the onions and garlic and sauté gently until soft and lightly caramelised (about 10 minutes).

Next, add the cumin, cinnamon, coriander, oregano and paprika (or ancho paste), along with the zest from the oranges.

Cook for a couple of minutes before returning the rabbit to the casserole dish along with the juice from the oranges, the tinned tomatoes, chopped raisins and peanut butter.

Bring to a simmer, season and place the lid on. Cook for about 1 hour or until the rabbit meat is tender.

Check the seasoning and spice levels (you can add a little more hot paprika if you want more heat) then add the chocolate and cook gently for another 20 minutes.

Serve on or off the bone (depending on your crowd) in the sauce with a wedge of lime and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, coriander and red onion.

Delicious served with bowls of white rice and a dollop of sour cream.