When I hunt small game with my buddies Chris and Dave, the wives always want to try something different with the rabbit we bring home. Here’s one recipe the whole family will really enjoy. This rabbit stew recipe thickens with a dark, slow-cooked roux becoming rabbit étouffée. The method creates gourmet flavor without the risks of thickening with raw liver and crème fraîche, the traditional final touch of gourmet chefs. Serve this delicious, mildly spicy stew over rice, cheese grits or polenta. If you prefer the Greek version of stifado, then you can remove the spicy ingredients and replace them with cinnamon, juniper berries and allspice.
Rabbit Stew Recipe à la Creole
½ cup flour
½ cup oil
Mix ingredients in a heavy glass, oven-safe bowl or measuring cup. Use a deep bowl, or the roux will bowl over when cooked in the microwave. Cook for six minutes. Stir and keep cooking in one-minute increments until roux achieves a very dark color. The total cooking time might take 12 minutes. Transfer the hot roux to a dish to cool, pouring off any excess oil that accumulates. Alternately, you can cook the roux over low to medium heat in a cast iron pan on the stove, but you must stir constantly until the roux darkens, which takes 30-45 minutes.
Rabbit Stew Ingredients:
1 large rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
1 onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ chopped red, yellow or green pepper or mixture of all three
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces of bacon, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme, basil and parsley or 2 tsp. fresh herbs, minced
1 bay leaf
2 jalapeño peppers, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper, white pepper and black pepper
Salt to taste
12 small new potatoes
1 cup pearl onions, peeled and root-ends removed
1 cup mushrooms, quartered or sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped tomatoes
– Salt the rabbit pieces and add olive oil to a large dutch oven or brazier.
– Fry the chopped bacon until brown and remove with a slotted spoon.
– Brown rabbit pieces and remove.
– Add chopped onions, green pepper and celery and cook until slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes.
– Drain off vegetables and oil, deglazing the pan with red wine. – Add the stock, bacon, rabbit pieces, herbs, mushrooms and drained vegetables and bring the mixture to a simmer. You can simmer the dish on top of the stove or braise it covered in the oven at 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
– Simmer or bake for 90 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until just fork tender.
– Remove rabbit pieces and thicken rabbit stew with drained roux until you get the preferred thickness. You can remove the rabbit meat from the bones if you like, but the dish makes a better presentation if you leave them.
Serve this rabbit stew recipe by serving one or two pieces of rabbit, vegetables and sauce over grits, rice or polenta in a presentation serving bowl and garnish with a sprig of fresh, parsley, chervil or cilantro. Garlic bread, jalapeño cornbread or crusty French or Italian bread and green salad make rabbit stew a satisfying meal. This dish has a little heat, but you can skip the red, white and jalapeño peppers, substituting exotic spices to transform the dish to a classic Greek stifado.