Chef James Henderson's Recipe for Rabbit Stifado - Kouneli Stifado

Getty Images | Credit: Fenot Eric
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

James Henderson, executive chef at two Greek restaurants, shares his recipe for this famous rustic stew made with rabbit and pearl onions (lots of onions!), a feature on the menu at Persephone in New York City.

The recipe serves 6-8.

Let's learn a little more about this chef:

You Don't Have to be Greek:

Do you have to be Greek to love and be inspired to create great Greek food? Of course not, but what about standing in the spotlight as the executive chef of not one but two Greek restaurants in the toughest restaurant market of all... New York City? Meet Chef James Henderson who is doing just that at two of the Big Apple's fabulous Greek restaurants, Periyali and Persephone.

A Flair for the Rustic:

Henderson is inspired by the authentic Greek tradition and the wealth of seasonal ingredients from local growers. His specialties range from the famed wine-marinated grilled octopus, Greek meatballs in tomato sauce, and grilled calamari to entrees of rosemary-scented lamb, eggplant and egg casserole, moussakas, and whole baked striped bass.

For over two decades, Henderson has honed his craft in the kitchens of some of the Tri-State area's finest restaurants. Starting out at both Periyali and Aureole, Henderson seized the opportunity to become the Sous Chef first at Oceana in 1991, and then Park Avenue Café three years later. Henderson secured his first executive chef role at the revered One If By Land, Two By Sea in the West Village in 1996.

Following, he also worked as the Executive Chef at Bull Run Restaurant for four years, and at Gage and Tollner. In March of 2004, Henderson moved to the kitchen at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Henderson now oversees the menus and kitchens of both Periyali and Persephone restaurants in New York City.

He graduated from the Culinary Institute of American in 1986 and resides with his family in Brooklyn, New York.

Details contributed by Ogan/Dallal Associates Inc.

About the Restaurants:

Both Periyali and Persephone have been included in New York Magazine's Critics' Pick list:

Try Chef James Henderson's Recipes in Your Kitchen!:

Many thanks to the Chef for allowing us to bring you these recipes:

  • Rabbit (Kouneli) Stifado (rabbit cooked with pearl onions}
  • Keftedes Saltsa (Greek meatballs in tomato sauce)
  • Skordalia (garlic spread)

What You'll Need

  • 8 pounds rabbit
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 6 cloves (whole)
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (to sauté)
  • 5 cups onions (pearl, peeled)

How to Make It

  1. Rabbit: Remove legs and flaps - reserve.
  2. Cut remaining loin with bone, in 3-4 inch pieces (cross section).
  3. Brown all pieces of rabbit in oil.
  4. Remove oil from pan.
  5. Deglaze with white wine, reduce by half in covered pot.
  6. Add tomato paste and chicken or vegetable stock.
  7. Add sachet (with cloves, allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon) and simmer 30-40 minutes.
  8. Add pearl onions and simmer 15-20 minutes or until pearl onions are fully cooked.

    Prep time: Prep time depends on the time it takes to peel the onions. Some ideas to make it easier.