By Cat, Feb 2011 (Photo, right, courtesy of N. and B. Shelt)
A friend just gave me a whole skinned and cleaned rabbit. I’ve cooked rabbit before, when I lived in Portland, and have a couple great French recipes that I’ve used. Unfortunately, that cookbook is packed away in my storage unit. Now I’m searching the web for recipes that interest me. Of course, I could just use a chicken recipe as both are very similar. But I want to try something different.
My old cookbook (that is locked in storage), includes a recipe for Hasenpfeffer (German for stewed Rabbit or Hare), so until I get it unpacked, this version will have to do.
This is a traditional German dish of stewed rabbit or hare. I’ve adapted this version from Rabbit Hunting on Line (1), The original uses a crock pot (on low), but I don’t have one so I use my saucier on stove top. I highly recommend brining rabbit, as it tends to be dry. Start this the day before you plan to serve it, so that you have adequate time to brine and marinate.
I’ve added bacon for the fat to sear the rabbit and onions/shallots for flavoring the sauce, as well as thyme and rosemary as optional seasoning.
And for another take on Hasenpfeffer from Austria, see Tour my Country: Austrian Hasenpfeffer (2).
Serves 4. I’ve not yet tested this version.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 rabbit ( 2 – 3 pounds), cut up & brined *
- white flour (for dusting)
- 2 slices bacon, diced
- 1 onion or 2 shallots, sliced in rings
- 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil or lard
- ⅛ tsp thyme (optional)
- ¼ tsp bruised rosemary (optional)
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 2 Tbsp wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Rapadura or white/brown cane sugar
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- Bowl (for brining, marinating)
- Dutch oven or 3 quart saucier
* NOTE: if you don’t brine the rabbit, add 1 Tbsp unrefined sea salt to the marinade
- Cut up rabbit to use legs and loins. Brine 6 – 12 hours using ¼ cup Kosher salt to 1 quart of water, using enough water to cover rabbit pieces. Remove from brine, rinse well.
- Combine wine, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings in bowl (add also 1 Tbsp unrefined sea salt if you did not brine the rabbit). Pour over rabbit; marinate overnight in fridge.
- Remove rabbit, reserving 1 ½ cup marinade (strained). Pat meat dry, and dust with flour.
- Dice bacon and slice onions thinly in rings.
- Heat fat in pot; Cook bacon and onions over medium heat until bacon is crispy and onions are golden; remove to a plate.
- Add oil/lard to pot if necessary, and increase heat to medium-high. Add rabbit pieces and brown about 2 – 3 minutes per side. Add cooked bacon & onions, and pour reserved marinade over. Thyme and rosemary can also be added.
- Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover & cook at lowest possible simmer (use simmer plate if necessary) 8 – 10 hours.
- Remove meat to platter; thicken gravy if desired.
Assembly or Serving ideas
- Serve with dollops of sour cream (or incorporate sour cream into pan juices).
- Accompany with steamed red potatoes, or more traditionally, mashed parsnips (or mashed turnips), and cabbage.
- Rabbit Hunting on Line recipe: rabbithuntingonline.com/recipes/hasenpfeffer_german_rabbit_recipe.htm
- Tour my Country: Austrian Hasenpfeffer recipe: tourmycountry.com/austria/hasenpfeffer.htm