German Rabbit Stew

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This is an unusual German rabbit stew with the memorable name of eingemachtes kaninchen, according to Mimi Sheraton in her excellent book The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking. It’s a light, bright counterpoint to the more famous hasenpfeffer, which is made with hare. 

A bowl of German rabbit stew.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This particular rabbit stew is a Swabian recipe, from Southern Germany. For those of us in the United States, when we read the recipe and we don’t immediately think of Germany, but rather of that country’s former financial nemesis: Greece. Lemon, capers and bay leaves play a prominent role in this stew.

But instead of oregano and olive oil and yogurt, the Germans use parsley and butter and sour cream. It is brothy, meaty and tart, with just a whiff of creaminess. Think avgolemono with more fiscal discipline. (If you want to go full Greek, I have a recipe for Greek rabbit stew.)

You may be wondering if this rabbit stew is some sort of variant on the most famous German rabbit recipe, hasenpfeffer. It is most definitely not.

For starters, hasenpfeffer requires a hase, a hare. And a hare is not a rabbit. Rabbits are light, mild white meat. Hares are heavy, strongly flavored red meat, and hasenpfeffer is a heavy, strongly flavored stew. In America, hasenpfeffer should be made with jackrabbit.

If you want some variation, try this stew with chicken, pheasant, quail, grouse or turkey. I bet it would be good with a firm fish like halibut, too. It is very good with boiled or mashed potatoes, or rice or just some crusty bread.

This recipe, however, is a perfect stew for cool nights, yet still light enough to enjoy with a chilled white wine outside on the porch as you watch the sunset, thinking about the next time you’ll get a chance to chase Mr. Cottontail.

Chances are if you’re a hunter, you know how to joint a rabbit. But for those of you buying your bunny, they all come whole, so you will need to part it out yourself. I’ve written a tutorial on how to cut up a rabbit here

Be sure to read the recipe’s headnotes, because while the base of this rabbit stew will keep for a few days, once you add the cream, you’re committed. So my advice would be to make the base and only add the cream and white wine right before you serve the stew.

A bowl of German rabbit stew.
5 from 35 votes

German Rabbit Stew

Chicken thighs would work well here, too, as would pheasant. There is another version of this stew in Germany that uses veal, too. It is a two-step stew, meaning you make the base and "mount" it with sour cream, white wine and capers right at the end. Once you add those final ingredients you are committed, so if you want to make this for dinners or lunches for the week, store just the base (up to Step 4) and add the remaining ingredients when you want to eat.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: German
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 cottontail rabbits, or 1 domestic rabbit, cut into serving pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion, sliced root to tip
  • Zest of a lemon white pith removed, cut into wide strips
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • White wine to taste, at least 2 tablespoons
  • Black pepper
  • Parsley for garnish

Instructions 

  • Salt the rabbit pieces well and set aside for 10 minutes or so. Set a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter. Pat the rabbit pieces dry and brown well on all sides. You may need to do this in batches, so don't crowd the pot and don't rush things. Remove the rabbit pieces once they're browned. This may take 15 minutes or so.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, then the sliced onion and cook until the edges just begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir well. Cook, stirring often, until the flour turns golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Return the rabbit to the pot and add enough chicken stock to cover. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the lemon zest, bay leaves and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently until the rabbit wants to fall off the bone, which will take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours, depending on how old your rabbit was.
  • This is an optional step, but I prefer it: Turn off the heat, fish out the rabbit pieces and let the cool on a baking sheet. Pull all the meat off the bones and return the meat to the stew. I don't like fiddly stews with bones in them, so I do this. You can leave everything on the bone if you want.
  • You can now store the stew for several days. Or you can serve it at once. Turn the heat to low just to make sure the stew is nice and hot. Do not let it simmer. Add the sour cream, capers and as much white wine as you want -- you want the stew to be a bit zingy. Stir in a healthy amount of black pepper and garnish with parsley.

Notes

Serve this with bread or potatoes and a crisp, German white wine. A lager beer would be good, too.

Nutrition

Calories: 705kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 110g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 435mg | Sodium: 386mg | Potassium: 1986mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 354IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 16mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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101 Comments

  1. This is my go-to. I still have some pheasant left and the partridges will also go. Doing this today on a brace I shot in November.

  2. My son brought home 6 rabbits. I have never cooked nor eaten any but he has. I wanted to try it and picked this recipe. I could not believe how good this was. I used regular yellow onion and no mushrooms ( not his favorite). This is going to be a keeper recipe for me. Thank you!

  3. Thank you Hank Shaw I went to culinary school and have work in many restaurants over the years. This is one of the best recipes I have found in a long time.loved it! I added guartered mushrooms to it and served it over noodles a five star recipe.

  4. Will someone explain what is meant by serving pieces? Bone in? I have two rabbits that I can cut curry style, or I can debone and cut bite-sized. Respectfully, what’s meant by “serving pieces”?

  5. When I stayed with friends recently they presented me with a rabbit upon my arrival saying “we received this from a friend but we don’t know how to prepare it. You know meat – will you cook it for us?” They were pretty hesitant about eating it so I figured a recipe with a bold secondary flavor that they were familiar with (like sour cream) would do the trick. I prepared the rabbit exactly as per the recipe and it was a big hit. They are now converts and are looking forward to eating more rabbit using other methods and flavor approaches.

  6. I haven’t made this yet but I love German food and the flavor of capers and lemon juice in this has me thinking about it. I’ve got two cotton tails and a red squirrel in the freezer… Obviously the rabbit will work but can I add the squirrel in this dish as well. Also will I need to increase any of the other ingredients since there will be more meat or will it be alright and meatier?

  7. Hank, once again you are the man! This recipe really highlights the meat that lemony zing is perfection! Thank you sir! Rabbits are plentiful in AK right now I will be making a large batch!

    1. Sarah: Sorta. You can freeze it up to the point where you add the cream. Cream doesn’t freeze well in soups.

    1. Yes you can. I put everything in except the cream. I did use pheasant instead of rabbit. Then cooked on low for 3 hours. The pheasant was perfect – very moist. I did find the consistency a little runny though so I removed the bird and thickened it up on the stove separately for 20 mins.

  8. Loved this recipe. I made it with rabbit I had canned (3 Pints, pulled the bones out prior to cooking). Since I used meat that was already cooked in a pressure canner, I started on step two. I also used venison stock instead of chicken as that is what I have in my pantry. I also thickened the broth at the end with corn startch to make it creamer. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  9. Thickened up the broth with a bit of flour and served over wide egg noodles stroganoff style. Delicious and tangy!

  10. Hello,

    Just a little correction: This is Swabian recipe, from Swabia in Southern Germany, not Bavaria, which is to the east of Swabia and has a very different cuisine!

  11. Bump. Just made this. First time cooking rabbit for me, picked one up from a local farm. Fantastic recipe. I went heavy on the wine and capers because I like my food tangy and it was no issue at all. The succulence of the rabbit goes great with the tangy-ness of the lemon, capers and wine. Served it over herb roasted potatoes and carrots and drank a Gewurz/Riesling blend with it. Perfect meal.

  12. Amazing. Cooked our grass fed domestic rabbit today. Amazing zesty flavour, great balance between the meat and sauce. Just a great way of cooking a rabbit. Thank You

  13. I love cooking rabbit, always on the lookout for a new recipe. Will be making this tonight.
    Btw, bought your “Hunt, Gather, Cook” on my Kindle yesterday.