What's For Dinner: Slow-cooked Hasenpfeffer Stew

Slow-cooked Rabbit Stew || A Less Processed Life

Does it sound more appealing if I call this "hasenpfeffer stew" rather than "rabbit stew"? I think we can all agree that bunnies are super-cute, but, turns out, they are also an excellent source of lean protein. Rabbit meat has recently gained popularity among the local and slow food crowds and it is becoming a more common sight on restaurant menus around the country.

Slow-cooked Rabbit Stew || A Less Processed Life

Still, I totally understand that rabbit is not for everyone. (Particularly if you have a pet bunny!) But since D brought home a snowshoe hare after a day of hunting in the field with our Deutsch langhaar Franka, I had to give it a go.

Because wild rabbit can be a bit tough, it is best suited for braising or slow-cooking. Rabbit is a fairly popular European dish, so I looked to the British for a recipe to try. The following recipe is lightly adapted from the BBC's Good Food magazine. The resulting dish is delightfully boozy (with both brandy and red wine!) and flavorful.

Slow-cooked Hasenpfeffer Stew (printer-friendly version)
makes 4-6 servings

16 whole prunes
1/4 cup brandy
1 rabbit, jointed
unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 strips of bacon, sliced into thin strips horizontally
2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
few tablespoons fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Place the prunes in a bowl with the brandy, stir, and let soak.
3. Lightly dust the rabbit with flour. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and brown each piece on all sides. Set the browned meat on a platter.
4. Add the thinly sliced bacon to the skillet along with the carrots, onion, celery, crushed garlic, and thyme sprigs. Fry until the bacon is browned, about 5 minutes.
5. Pour in the red wine and chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the rabbit pieces back into the dish along with the prunes. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the rabbit is tender. Scatter with fresh parsley before serving.

(adapted from this Good Food magazine recipe)