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Five Rabbit Recipes for a Wild Game Easter Dinner

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April 21, 2011

Five Rabbit Recipes for a Wild Game Easter Dinner

By David Draper

Sure, ham or lamb will be the traditional centerpieces this coming Sunday, but in my opinion nothing says Easter like a platter full of Peter Cottontail. Earlier this week, I got a jump on Easter weekend when I cooked up a batch of bunny using Steven Rinella’s hasenpfeffer recipe.

If ginger snaps aren’t your idea of delicious, here are four more ways to serve up a Sunday dinner to remember:

Hedgerow Chicken: Marinate rabbit pieces in buttermilk, dip them in flour and fry them up KFC style.

Rabbit Cacciatore
: I never understood why a chicken dish was named for hunters, so why not substitute rabbit? Brown rabbit pieces in oil, add in some mushrooms, chopped celery, onions and crushed tomatoes. Simmer in red wine and broth until tender, about 1 hour.

Fricassee: Brown a rabbit in hot oil and make a roux with the pan drippings. Add cream to make a thick gravy. Be sure to dose it up with a liberal amount of black pepper.

Tandoori Rabbit
: Soak rabbit overnight in a marinade of plain yogurt, lemon juice, oil, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and cumin. Add diced, fresh jalapeño or red pepper flakes if you like a little spice. Remove rabbit from marinade and grill over high heat until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.

Comments (13)

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from Bushwackers wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

All I can say is YUMMM !! I love eatin rabbit.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chef Frank wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

To answer your question about Chicken Cacciatore, there are three popular origin stories as to how it got its name:

1) The "Cacciatore", or "Hunter's Sauce" refers to the ingredients that a hunter would find in the woods: onions and mushrooms. Chances are, he would just collect them and bring them home to add to the pot where the other ingredients were waiting. As a note, try making a Cacciatore Sauce with ramps - baby wild leeks - that are plentiful in most swampy ground in early spring.

2) The term "Cacciatore" used in reference to a sauce has been in use since the Renaissance. This was a period in Italian history when most of the nation lived in poverty and strict laws were in place to prevent hunting by common people (it was the right of the Nobility to hunt anywhere they pleased). However, poaching did take place and rabbits were easily found and caught. If a game warden (or the Italian Renaissance equivalent) came knocking at the door asking what was in the cooking pot, the answer would always be "chicken" and most times, the warden couldn't tell the difference between a piece of chicken or rabbit in the pot, especially in the thick sauce.

3) The name is actually a joke, referring to what a poor hunter would be eating if he didn't catch anything that day.

Note that tomatoes were probably not part of of the original cacciatore recipe as they were not part of the average Italian's diet until the early 18th Century (they were thought to be poisonous because they are part of the Nightshade family - like potatoes, which weren't eaten throughout much of Europe until about the same time - both were brought back from their Native Americas by Columbus).

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from shotgunlou wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

The wild rabbit in AZ isnt edible, or so I hear, but my parents have been raising rabbits in the backyard so I'm gonna have to try some of these recipes and see how they turn out.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Thanks Chef Frank, for explaining the origin of Chicken Cacciatore!

Wow, What a meal!
I certainly wish I had some rabbit left to make this dish ... I'll just have to save this page to my favorites.
Love the picture of the utilitarin relics; the three-pronged fork, metal dinner plate and of course the ol' BALL jar for drink.

Is it just me, or does the bunch of asparagus look a little over cooked?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from quinnm107 wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

@ shotgunlou:

Jack Rabbits in AZ aren't "edible" because they have minimal body mass and are very sinewy. There are cotton tails here too though, and as far as I know they are just like the ones in the northeast, and they are edible.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

nothing like rabbit on easter. or any other day.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from klcmaher wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I love rabbit, for Easter or any time! My ex husbands grandmother used to make a rabbit dish for Easter. She would marinate rabbit in wine for days, and then cook it. It was execellent! Unfortunately it wasnt good enough to keep the marriage together...lol. I make rabbit occasionally, but dont have her recipe.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pikepredator wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

If you follow the Hedgerow recipe above, put the pieces in a covered casserole dish and slow bake for a few hours. The gravy in unreal and great on mashed tates.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ADKHunter wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

that sounds amazing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ADKHunter wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

that sounds amazing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

These are some tasty recipes and I want to try them all. Its funny, cooking rabbit on Easter. When i was 11 or 12, obviously past believing in the Easter Bunny, my mom cooked rabbit for dinner on easter night. My brother and I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I forget how she did it and it doesnt count because they were farm raised, but i remember it being delicous.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

With Cacciatore I like to add the mushrooms during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. This way they dont get to soft and mushy. Just thought i'd share

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dek0609 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

If your Arizona jack rabbits are too tough try making a gumbo with them. Even old rooster falls apart after several hours of cooking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Chef Frank wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

To answer your question about Chicken Cacciatore, there are three popular origin stories as to how it got its name:

1) The "Cacciatore", or "Hunter's Sauce" refers to the ingredients that a hunter would find in the woods: onions and mushrooms. Chances are, he would just collect them and bring them home to add to the pot where the other ingredients were waiting. As a note, try making a Cacciatore Sauce with ramps - baby wild leeks - that are plentiful in most swampy ground in early spring.

2) The term "Cacciatore" used in reference to a sauce has been in use since the Renaissance. This was a period in Italian history when most of the nation lived in poverty and strict laws were in place to prevent hunting by common people (it was the right of the Nobility to hunt anywhere they pleased). However, poaching did take place and rabbits were easily found and caught. If a game warden (or the Italian Renaissance equivalent) came knocking at the door asking what was in the cooking pot, the answer would always be "chicken" and most times, the warden couldn't tell the difference between a piece of chicken or rabbit in the pot, especially in the thick sauce.

3) The name is actually a joke, referring to what a poor hunter would be eating if he didn't catch anything that day.

Note that tomatoes were probably not part of of the original cacciatore recipe as they were not part of the average Italian's diet until the early 18th Century (they were thought to be poisonous because they are part of the Nightshade family - like potatoes, which weren't eaten throughout much of Europe until about the same time - both were brought back from their Native Americas by Columbus).

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bushwackers wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

All I can say is YUMMM !! I love eatin rabbit.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from shotgunlou wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

The wild rabbit in AZ isnt edible, or so I hear, but my parents have been raising rabbits in the backyard so I'm gonna have to try some of these recipes and see how they turn out.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Thanks Chef Frank, for explaining the origin of Chicken Cacciatore!

Wow, What a meal!
I certainly wish I had some rabbit left to make this dish ... I'll just have to save this page to my favorites.
Love the picture of the utilitarin relics; the three-pronged fork, metal dinner plate and of course the ol' BALL jar for drink.

Is it just me, or does the bunch of asparagus look a little over cooked?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from quinnm107 wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

@ shotgunlou:

Jack Rabbits in AZ aren't "edible" because they have minimal body mass and are very sinewy. There are cotton tails here too though, and as far as I know they are just like the ones in the northeast, and they are edible.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

nothing like rabbit on easter. or any other day.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from klcmaher wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I love rabbit, for Easter or any time! My ex husbands grandmother used to make a rabbit dish for Easter. She would marinate rabbit in wine for days, and then cook it. It was execellent! Unfortunately it wasnt good enough to keep the marriage together...lol. I make rabbit occasionally, but dont have her recipe.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pikepredator wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

If you follow the Hedgerow recipe above, put the pieces in a covered casserole dish and slow bake for a few hours. The gravy in unreal and great on mashed tates.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ADKHunter wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

that sounds amazing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ADKHunter wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

that sounds amazing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

These are some tasty recipes and I want to try them all. Its funny, cooking rabbit on Easter. When i was 11 or 12, obviously past believing in the Easter Bunny, my mom cooked rabbit for dinner on easter night. My brother and I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I forget how she did it and it doesnt count because they were farm raised, but i remember it being delicous.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

With Cacciatore I like to add the mushrooms during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. This way they dont get to soft and mushy. Just thought i'd share

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dek0609 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

If your Arizona jack rabbits are too tough try making a gumbo with them. Even old rooster falls apart after several hours of cooking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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