A rich and easy recipe for rabbit stew with lots of vegetables and beer, cooked in a Dutch oven.
How to Cook Rabbit?
A hearty and super delicious rabbit stew, perfect for those who never had rabbit before!
Have you ever eaten rabbit? It is an eligible question, most people I know have never eaten rabbit in their lives and many of them don’t even have an interest in trying it. Too bad! Because the rabbit tastes great and its consumption has many benefits.
Health benefits of eating rabbit
- Rabbit meat has a very high protein content, more than beef or poultry, 100 g/ 3.5 oz contains 33 g protein.
- It is very low in fat, the leanest meat available actually. 100 g/ 3.5 oz contains 3.5% fat.
- Rabbit is very low in calories, making it a good choice for people trying to lose weight, only 173 calories per 100 g/ 3.5 oz.
- It is a very concentrated source of iron, there are 2.3 milligrams of iron in 100 g/ 3.5 g meat, which is absorbed by the body very well.
- It has a very low cholesterol level, making it a good choice for people fighting with cholesterol.
- The meat is rich in minerals, mostly in phosphorus and potassium.
- It contains less sodium than other meats.
- Rabbit is cheaper and more environmentally friendly to produce than other types of meat, most of all beef. For instance, rabbits produce about 2.5 kg/ 6 lbs of meat on the same amount of food and water as a cow will need to produce 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs meat.
- Also, antibiotics are not as widely used when raising rabbits and there are no hormones administrated.
- So, all these are good news. Rabbit is healthy, good for the planet and it actually tastes great. It has a white kind of meat, similar in taste to chicken, yet slightly different.
Then why aren’t we eating more of it? Like in the past when it used to be a regular and normal kind of meat to have on the menu?
For me the main reason for only eating rabbit the first time when I was already in my thirties was that I did not know rabbit meat at all, I have never had it as a child, there was never even the question there if I should try some rabbit. My grandmother never cooked rabbit, she would not even eat beef or butter or drink milk, so imagine her cooking rabbit. No way!
And then rabbits are cute, so I’ve always thought I don’t need to eat an animal that’s cute, there are enough other options out there. But that’s not fair, is it? Not fair to the other animals.
Pigs are not cute, but they are way more intelligent than rabbits and we still eat them. Cows look weird, but they’re so gentle, I always feel sorry for them when I look at them. But we still eat them. Small chickens and lambs are super cute as well, but we still eat them. So, cuteness as criteria for eating or not eating an animal is really not OK, if you ask me.
It was my cousin Adi who taught me how to cook rabbit stew. He was here on a prolonged visit and one day I asked him what his favorite meal was. He said rabbit stew, the one he cooked himself at home very often, in the garden, in a large cauldron over the open fire.
Cauldron stew with rabbit, vegetables, and beer. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
- I buy a whole frozen rabbit for the stew, I have never seen fresh rabbits around here, but frozen is definitely good. It is not possible to get them all the time around here, so making this recipe requires a bit of preliminary planning.
- The rabbits I get here are very small, one weighs 1,2 kg/ 2.6 lbs. And they weigh even less after I cut them into pieces because I don’t cook the backbone and the ribs in the stew, they don’t have enough meat on them.
- I have to cut the rabbit into smaller pieces in order to make the stew. Because the back and the ribs of the rabbit don’t have much meat on them I usually use those to make stock.
- I add a few frozen chicken bones leftover from roast chicken to the pot, some soup vegetables like carrots, onions and celeriac, some spices like black pepper, juniper, and allspice berries, bay leaves and cloves, some salt.
- I cover everything with water and let the pot simmer for several hours. The stock is perfect for soups, stews, risottos and so on. See this post on making Chicken Stock and follow the recipe to make a rabbit and chicken stock.
- The vegetables needed are the typical vegetables you will find in most stews: lots of onions, peppers, tomatoes, carrots.
- The beer I use is regular German pils, I take whatever pils we happen to have in the house at the moment, usually a beer with a slightly bitterer taste, like Jever or Becks.
- The dish is slowly cooked in a round Dutch oven for at least 1 ½ hours until the meat is super tender and falling off the bones.
- Serve the hearty rabbit stew with mashed potatoes or bread and pickled vegetables, for instance, these wonderful Green (Unripe) Tomato Pickles.
- If you don’t have or don’t like pickles, any sort of roasted or boiled vegetables or a nice salad would do as well.
- The dish can be reheated and it is suitable for freezing as well.
Other hearty stews:
- 1 rabbit
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large onions
- 250-300 ml/ 1 – 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- 150 ml/5 oz/ 1 1/4 cup beer (pils), about 1/2 bottle + more, if needed
- 125 g/ ½ cup pureed tomatoes
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 5 juniper berries
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Cut the rabbit into 5 or 6 smaller pieces. I didn't use the backbone and the ribs for the stew, I made rabbit and chicken stock with them. See the blog post for more details on that.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or another heavy bottom pot and fry the rabbit pieces on both sides until golden. Remove from the pan.
- Halve the onions and slice the halves thinly. Pour the remaining oil in the pot, fry the onions on medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 20 minutes. Add some of the water from time to time to prevent them from burning or drying out.
- In the meantime slice the carrots and the red bell pepper. Add the vegetables to the onions and continue cooking, stirring a few times in between, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the sweet and the smoked paprika powder (sweet or hot according to taste) and stir well for about 1 minute.
- Place the rabbit pieces back in the pot, add the beer, pureed tomatoes, and enough water to barely cover the rabbit, the meat pieces should not be completely underwater. Add the bay leaves, the juniper berries, some salt, and pepper.
- Cover the pot, bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 1 ½ hours or until the meat is really tender, it should basically fall off the bone. Don't forget to stir from time to time and add a little more beer if the liquid reduces too much.
- Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and serve with mashed potatoes and pickles. Or with boiled potatoes and roasted or boiled vegetables or salad.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 558mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 10gSugar: 16gProtein: 10g