Conejo al palo – Peruvian roast rabbit on a stick

Whole Roast Rabbit on a Stick
  • Main
  • easy
  • 4
  • 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 24 hours marinating time



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Drive northwards out of Cusco, pass through the famous market town of Pisac and head towards the beautiful Urubamba Valley. There are many places to eat along the way, but the town of Lamay is the most interesting, as that’s where you can and barbecue guinea pig on a stick. In this recipe I’m using rabbit, as the flavour is just as delicious, and the meat is similar but more accessible

The day before you intend to cook the rabbit, mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl (big enough to hold the rabbit) and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Add the rabbit, massaging the marinade into the flesh. Cover (or put the whole thing, including the marinade, into a large, resealable plastic bag) and marinate in the fridge overnight
Remove the rabbit from the fridge 1 hour before you want to cook it, to bring it up to room temperature. Stuff the cavity with rosemary, reserving the marinade for brushing
To cook, you have three options: You can cook the rabbit on a spit over a hot charcoal grill or barbecue. In this case, spear the rabbit on a long wooden stick and suspend it about 20cm over the coals. Cook for about 30 minutes, turning and using a pastry brush to baste with the marinade at least every 15 minutes throughout, until the rabbit is cooked through and a combination of lightly browned and slightly charred in places
To barbecue the rabbit without the spit, place the rabbit on the grill and cook slowly for about 1 hour, turning and basting as before
To oven roast, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Place the rabbit on a rack over a roasting tin and roast for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes, until cooked through
While the rabbit is cooking, make the huacatay paste. Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender with 10ml of water. Blitz until you have a smooth paste. Add a splash more water to loosen, if necessary. Season with salt to taste
Serve the rabbit whole for everyone to help themselves, with barbecued corn cobs, halved baked sweet potatoes the huacatay paste drizzled over the top
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