Dishing Up the Dirt

Rabbit Stew

We’ve had our first official snowfall of the season here at Tumbleweed Farm and I’m not going to lie, I’m not ready! Last winter was one of the harshest winters on record and I’m not sure that I’m mentally prepared to toughen up for the forecast ahead. Luckily, Taylor and I are surrounded by a lot of badass farmers who produce some amazing quality food to help get us through these stormy and dark days. Our friends at Horseradish Ranch do it right with pastured raised animals that thrive in a natural environment on a small scale farm.

“We focus on using and further developing heritage agricultural techniques such as dryland farming without the use of irrigation, no-till soil management, and raising hardy breeds of livestock & plants that thrive in the natural conditions of our farm and are resilient to change. We emphasize the importance of regenerating our pastures through multi-species rotational grazing, and are committed to providing GMO-free, regionally-appropriate foods with practices that build soil fertility, don’t deplete our water resources, and encourage biodiversity.” -Horseradish Ranch

This past weekend it was a stormy one at the Saturday farmers market and all I could do to stay warm was drink lots of coffee and fantasize about a warm and comforting dinner. I tossed around dinner inspiration with some of our customers and got intrigued by a women who had just purchased a rabbit from Horseradish Ranch.

“How do you plan to prepare your rabbit?” I asked.

“Not quite sure yet. But I think I’ll need plenty of onions and garlic from you. I’m pretty sure that if there’s onions, garlic and wine involved this can’t go wrong”

I love the farmers market for the sole purpose of having these awesome conversations with our customers. I’d never prepared rabbit before but onions, garlic and wine have never failed me in the past when it comes to slow cooking meat. I was still a little unsure about how this dish would turn out but Taylor said it was one of the best meals we’ve had all year. Perfect comfort food.

I honestly believe that food is medicine and knowing who/where your ingredients come from is so important. We’re lucky that our fellow neighbors raise some damn fine rabbit but if you’re unable to find rabbit (ask your butcher because they usually have a local source but may not always have rabbit on hand) you can substitute with chicken keeping in mind that the flavors and cooking time will be slightly different.

This stew is quite easy to prepare once you’ve got your rabbit cut up into pieces. I had to reference the the internet for some basic cutting techniques (linked below in the actual recipe) because I wasn’t versed in butchering rabbit. What I will say is that you definitely need a sharp knife and some patience but once the rabbit is cut into pieces this recipe is pretty much hands off time. Slow cooked stew for the win!

The flavors in this recipe are incredibly comforting and I cannot wait until Saturday when I can purchase more rabbit to make this again.This is a brothy stew that benefits from some good quality bread for dunking. The recipe also calls for quite a bit of red wine so you might as well invite the neighbors over and have a few glasses as the stew simmers.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm!

Rabbit Stew

Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 2 hours    Serves: 6

  • 1 rabbit, about 2.5lbs
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium sized yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dreid oregano
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry red wine (we used a Pinot Noir but a Syrah or Merlot would be great too!)
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Cut the rabbit into serving size pieces (this website has great instructions!) Generously season the rabbit pieces with salt.
  • Heat a heaping 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the rabbit on all sides (about 2 minutes per side). Remove the rabbit from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium high heat and add the onions. Sautée the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return the browned rabbit and add the garlic, allspice, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, oregano, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, red wine, port, chicken stock and red wine vinegar. Season the whole mixture with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for about 2 hours or until the rabbit is tender and falls off the bone. Times will very depending on the size of the rabbit.
  • Divide the liquid part of the stew between bowls and top with individual pieces of the rabbit.

Notes

*This recipe was adapted from Honest-food.net *Use this recipe as a guide *Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Taste test as you go *Cooking times will very from kitchen to kitchen


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One thought on “Rabbit Stew

  1. Susan Walter says:

    I like rabbit but my husband doesn’t (says it’s too dry). We live in France so rabbit is widely available and traditional, so I usually inflict it on him once a year. This looks like a nice recipe to try. After all, he’s just inflicted choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with cured meats and steamed potato) on me, so fair is fair 🙂

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