This guy was snooping around our garden this morning. If the farmer sees him he will certainly make him into rabbit stew.
He looks pretty darned content doesn't he? Almost asleep basking in the sun. In fact maybe his belly is already full of our garden goods.
Durkee, a very small rural town and we used to stay periodically with Orpha Dyer (or Nanna as we called her). Most of the time it was while our mother was in the hospital having a baby or surgery. Nanna raised rabbits to sell for the meat and fur. One of the most traumatic memories I have is watching her hold a rabbit up by the ears and shooting it between the eyes with her little pistol. I was around four or five and I can still see this as if it happened yesterday. She would fix rabbit stew or Hasenpfeffer as the cook on Bugs Bunny called it in the cartoon Shishkabugs.
My husband used to spend summers with his grandparents in Idaho and his grandfather also raised rabbits to sell the meat. His grandfather however, used to thump them on the head with a hammer to kill them. Yikes! I don't think I could do that. One summer when the farmer was around nine or so he wanted to send his brothers back in Baker a surprise in the mail. He packaged up all the rabbits feet from butchering and sent them off....in 100º weather. Imagine the postal carrier's delight delivering those.
Hasenpfeffer (German Rabbit Stew)
1 large or 2 small rabbits, cleaned, skinned, and cut into pieces
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup dry red wine
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon pickling spices
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
4 tablespoon clarified butter
sugar (start with 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
Mix the marinade, bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour. Cool to room temperature. Marinate the rabbit for at least a day (two is better).
Remove the rabbit pieces and dry them. Dredge them in the seasoned flour and brown in the butter on all sides. Strain the marinade and add it to the rabbit, cover tightly, and simmer for an hour. Remove the rabbit and place on a serving platter.
Add one tablespoon sugar to the broth and taste. Add additional sugar if necessary to get the balance of sweet and sour you prefer. Blend the 3 tablespoons flour with the cream and sour cream and add it, stirring constantly, cooking for a couple of minutes to thicken and remove the flour taste. Add salt and pepper to taste, pour over the rabbit, and serve.