I decided to buy a whole rabbit from a farm participating in Augusta Locally Grown. The last time I bought and cooked a rabbit was around 1976 when my friend Dennis and I bought a live one that was butchered on the spot at the Italian Market in Philadelphia.
Now, Hassenpfeffer is an old dish originally for wild hare, but it is also excellent with domestic rabbit. This is a really easy recipe and you need to start the day before cooking it.
- 1 whole rabbit, dressed, head and feet removed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups vinegar (plain white or white wine vinegar)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon pickling spices
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 8 whole cloves
- 3 bay leaves, slightly bruised
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- White flour for dusting rabbit
- 1 tablespoon fine natural sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup sour cream
Mix the water, vinegar, wine, onion, salt, black pepper, pickling spices, dried mustard, cloves, and bay leaves in a large enough bowl to allow for the rabbit.Cut the rabbit into three or four pieces. Add the rabbit to the bowl, preferably covered by the marinade. If not, turn the rabbit every so often. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Take the rabbit out of the marinade, dry and lightly dust with flour. Melt the butter in a large saucepan (cast iron works great) over medium heat. When the butter is melted and starts to sizzle, brown the rabbit on all sides.
Pour the marinade through a strainer into the saucepan with the rabbit. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, turning the rabbit after 20 minutes if not completely covered by the marinade.
When rabbit is done, remove to a plate. You can keep the rabbit warm if you put it on an oven proof plate and place in a warm oven, around 200 degrees F.
Now, finish preparing the sauce. Add the sugar and stir over low heat. Mix the cornstarch with enough water to make a thin paste. Add to the sauce and stir until the sauces thickens a bit. Stir in the sour cream.
Serve with pasta, spaetzle, or mashed potatoes. Pour sauce over the rabbit and the starch choice. Enjoy.