November 21, 2016

Rabbit Stew

I have been reading about various meat sources that a small farmer can raise, what's involved, what the meat is good for, how it tastes and relative nutrition in each source.  It's quite interesting.  

As a younger person I was very squeamish about meat.  I didn't like to touch raw meat and I certainly didn't like to think about where it came from.  The experience of raising animals to eat has brought me so much more appreciation and respect for meat, though, and I find myself willing to try a wider variety of things.  Especially when it might present an option that we could manage here on the farm. 

Recently, I read a piece on rabbit.  What I learned is that they are a fabulous option for small farmers because they don't take much space to raise humanely; they reproduce prolifically; and their meat is more nutrient-dense than chickens.  

I always look for a way for us to try something out before we commit to anything big.  So I wanted to try rabbit a few times before we might think about raising them ourselves to make sure we enjoy the meat.  I was excited to see when I placed my weekly milk order with our Amish farmer herd share that he was offering pasture raised rabbits.  I ordered one up!

The rabbit came processed and shrink wrapped whole, except for its head.  Josh wanted to take a stab at cutting it up so he could see what they were like.  He cut all the useable meat off for me while I searched for a recipe to use.  The one that I settled on was called Rabbit Stew with Mushrooms.

I'll give you the basics of how I made it, but check out the full recipe on

Rabbit Stew

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 rabbit
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup sherry 
  • 3 cups stock (duck, chicken, vegetable)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • Salt

1. Preheat your oven to 375.

2. Cut up your rabbit into pieces.  My husband cut mine into bite-size pieces and took out the bones, which made eating it easier when it was finished.  The original recipe said to use the whole rabbit, including bones.  Salt your meat and pat it dry.

3. Trim off the top of your two heads of garlic and drizzle them with olive oil.  Wrap them in foil and roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes.  When they are done, take them out and let them cool.

4. Heat up a thick-bottomed large pot on high heat then add your mushrooms and shake the pot.  This is called a dry saute.  The mushrooms will begin to release their water.  Stir continuously and turn down the heat once the mushrooms begin to moisten.  Cook until the water is mostly gone then remove the mushrooms and set them aside.

5. Add your butter to the pot over medium heat.  Brown the rabbit pieces on both sides in the pan then set them aside.

6. Add shallots to the butter in the pot and saute several minutes, stirring occasionally.  Salt lightly.  

7. Deglaze the pot with the sherry but pouring it in and using a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom.  Let the sherry boil down by half then squeeze your roasted garlic cloves out and add them to the pot along with the stock. Stir well.

8. Add your cooked mushrooms and rabbit back into the pot along with the thyme and parsnip.  Bring the stew to a gentle simmer and cook 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

9. I served mine over wild rice and it was delightful!

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