Jerseygator's Blog


Posted in Cooking,Garden by jerseygator on May 21, 2010

Ever since we found the baby rabbits in the back yard (by the way, mama rabbit has relocated the babies), Taylor has been hankering for ‘Hasenpfeffer’.

Mr. Rabbit, cut up and ready for browning

So today, he and I went to the Amish market here in Mullica Hill and bought a fresh rabbit. Yes, it was already gutted & skinned but still had the heart, liver & kidneys.  Step one, cut up the rabbit. I cut up my own chickens and butcher beef all the time, that way I can save the scraps for making home-made stock. And while I remember gutting rabbits a long time ago when we used to hunt them in Indiana, I don’t think I’ve ever cut one up.  So Taylor simply went onto the ‘Net and downloaded a video on how to do it.  It was fairly straight forward with the exception of the tenderloin portion but I got the hang of ot right away.      A good quality chef’s knife is a key piece of hardware in any kitchen and remember to keep it sharp and hone the blade on a regular basis.  And, of course, I saved and froze the rabbit scraps to make stock later.  I figure that if we like the rabbit, I’ll have enough scraps after about 3 rabbits to make rabbit stock and if we don’t, I’ll just add this one to the chicken stock.

Rabbit and bacon browned and set aside

Next, I cut the meat into small bite-sized pieces and set them aside.  We started the hasenpfeffer by cutting up 1/2 pound of bacon and browning it in a large skillet.  I like to use my enamel stock-pot.  While the bacon was browning, we coated the rabbit with a mixture of flour (1/3 cup) and a little salt (1/2 teaspoon).  Once the bacon was done, we removed it from the skillet and took out all but about 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat.  This we used for the next stage.  We finely chopped 1/2 cup of shallots and one garlic clove and sauted both in the bacon fat until tender.  Next, we added 1 cup of red wine (Yes, I used my home-made Valpolicella for this!) and one cup of chicken stock (some chicken bouillon and a cup of warm water will do in a pinch).  We brought this to a boil and then added 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked peppercorns, one bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon each of fresh thyme and rosemary from our garden.   Next, we added the browned rabbit & bacon, a stalk of celery and a couple of carrots from the garden.  Once this began to boil, we covered the pot and lowered the heat to a simmer.  Let this continue to simmer for about a hour or so, until the rabbit is tender. After an hour, we removed the rabbit and vegetables to a platter to keep them warm while we prepared the gravy (Don’t forget to discard the bay leaf).  To this, we first added 1/2 of a fresh squeezed lemon.  Then we combined 2 tablespoons of flour with 3 tablespoons of water and whisked them together. We added this mixture to the liquid and stirred at a low heat until the gravy was the right consistency.  Finally, we stirred in about 1/4 teaspoon of thyme.  All that was left was to plate the rabbit and pour the gravy over the stew.  Wow, the taste was fit for a king (see Warner Brothers ‘Shish-Ka Bugs’; thanks Lee!).  To my surprise, McKenzie decided to have some.  While she didn’t rave about the flavor, she did finish her bowl.  I’m sure it’s not traditional but next time I’d serve it over brown rice or with a side of mashed potatoes.  All in all, it was a nice experience cooking with my 17 year old son.  Thanks Taylor, for suggesting Hasenpfeffer!

Plated Hasenpfeffer and a glass of home-made Valpolicella


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