Thursday, February 2, 2017

On The Road: German Style Crockpot Rabbit

      Barb and I picked up a couple pounds of rabbit this trip to Louisiana.  Rabbit is still considered a specialty item in much of America, but is a common staple in several places, especially Europe.  It had been 40 years ago stationed in Germany since we'd enjoyed this delicious meal.  It's no secret I love to cook and am always looking to broaden our horizons; Joie de Vivre.  I found a couple of intriguing recipes online and this one came the closest to how I remembered it prepared in 'Der Bundesrepublik'. 
      German recipes for meat are often pretty easy......braise it, add seasonings (in this case caraway, brown sugar, and bread crumbs) and any vegetables you want and slow cook it into submission for hours, then served with crusty bread and gravy.  I modified mine by finishing the cooking process in a crockpot, the Holy Grail of RV Haute Cuisine.  Although ours is a modest 2 quart model, recipes are easily modified to suit our needs. 
      We purchased our rabbit from a Cajun Butchers Market so we move to the braising process.   First I put one pound sliced pork sausage (flavor of your choice) in a cast iron skillet with a tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and heated it to medium.  I always use, and prefer, cast iron.  Once stirred and browned I covered it with 1/2 cup beer and reducing the heat to med-low simmered for 30 minutes. Braising involves partially submersing  the meat in a flavorful liquid. You can braise rabbit in chicken stock, hard or soft cider, beer and either white or red wine. For this recipe it was beer.  It does not have to be dark beer, any pilsner of your liking will do.  I used Shiner Bock, a local Texas Bock-Style beer. 


      Then remove the sausage from skillet and drain.  Place rabbit pieces into skillet, adding more beer as needed.  Add 4 Tblsp cider vinegar, 1 cup browned bread crumbs, 1 tsp caraway seeds, 1/2 grated lemon peel, and 1 tsp brown sugar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Turn once halfway through.
      Transfer rabbit and all the pan ingredients to the crockpot as well as the sausages.    You can add chicken stock to this as needed to your preference.  6 pieces of rabbit, sausage, and broth FILLED the crockpot to the top.  Cover and cook over low heat for 4 hours.
     After about 3 hours occasionally test your rabbit 'doneness' with a fork.  When done transfer rabbit to serving plate, adding your choice of vegetable and crusty bread as it works well here to sop up the inevitably created savory gravy.  I resisted the urge to add German Dumplings or Taters.  Delicious nonetheless. 

From the RV kitchen of Rich & Barb Hilts....Bon Appetit 

                            "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"
                                                          Neale Donald Walsch 

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