Easter is coming soon, and every year I wonder: why do we have an Easter Bunny? And better yet: how do we turn the Easter Bunny onto a delicious (and healthy) German Rabbit Stew?
How Did The Bunny Get Into Easter?
Comedian Eddie Izzard has his take on how Easter (and Christmas) came to be the way they are today:
But how did rabbits actually get into the Easter tradition? Honestly, no one knows. According to History.com, the concept of an egg-laying hare may have come over to the United States with German immigrants. German immigrants came to the US in the 1700s and settled in Pennsylvania, bringing with them the legend of the Osterhase, and eventually the tradition spread across the country. The tradition of the hare is probably directly related to Easter also falling on a traditional Pagan holiday known as The Festival of Eostre, a goddess of fertility. Why would cute fluffy bunnies be related to a fertility festival? *cough* Surely you’ve heard the famous phrase about bunnies and sexual relations! Rabbits are notorious for breeding a LOT. (If you want to learn more about rabbits, check out the rabbit episode of Varmints!)
Rabbits As Food
If you’re curious, yes, I would definitely eat a rabbit, because they’re delicious, silly. Rise and Shine Rabbitry gives us 10 good reasons why we should eat rabbit meat:
1. It is one of the best white meats available on the market today.
2. The meat has a high percentage of easily digestible protein.
3. It contains the least amount of fat among all the other available meats.
4. Rabbit meat contains less calorie value than other meats.
5. Rabbit meat is almost cholesterol free and therefore heart patient friendly.
6. The sodium content of rabbit meat is comparatively less than other meats.
7. The calcium and phosphorus contents of this meat or more than any other meats.
8. The ratio of me to bone is high meaning there is more edible meat on the carcass than even a chicken.
9. Rabbit meat with the many health benefits does not have a strong flavor and is comparable to chicken but not identical.
10. Rabbits are one of the most productive domestic livestock animal there is. Rabbits can produce 6 pounds of meat on the same feed and water as the cow will produce 1 pound of meat on the same feed and water.
I get my rabbits whole and cleaned: my local Asian markets carry them regularly. The only tool you’ll need to prepare the meat is a heavy kitchen knife, because you’ll need it to cut through the bones. I cut mine into 6 pieces, but you can find an excellent tutorial for rabbit butchery on Honest-Food.net.
German Rabbit Stew
I thoroughly enjoy the irreverence of dining on Easter Bunny, and since the Germans are most likely the culprits in bringing the East Bunny to American, I just could not deny that German Rabbit Stew would be a divine way to share a wink with you, readers. And thus, this recipe came to be!
It’s actually a pretty simple recipe.
You need some onions, salt, butter, black pepper, lemon juice and zest, flour, capers, parsley, sour cream, white wine or vinegar, water, bay leaves and of course, rabbit!
Then you brown the rabbit in the butter (*drool*), then remove it and brown the onions. Add the flour to make a roux then return the rabbit pieces to the pot and add some water. Toss in those bay leaves, lemon juice and zest, too, while you’re at it. Let that cute lagomorph simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Then you just need to stir in the wine or vinegar, capers, black pepper and sour cream and you’re golden! I enjoyed mine with itty bitty po-tay-toes and green peas. So delicious!
- 1 whole rabbit, cut into 6 pieces
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp butter, salted
- 2 cups sliced onions
- 2 tbsp flour
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 8 tbsp sour cream
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp chopped capers
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 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. Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in the pot and brown the rabbit pieces in batches, setting the pieces aside when they're brown.
- 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 water 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 falls off the bone, 1 1/2 - 3 hours.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream, vinegar, capers and black pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve with boiled potatoes and peas.
Substitute bone-in chicken with skin removed if you don't have rabbit.
This is the second recipe I’ve posted here using “unconventional meats”. If you are hesitant to try meats other than the easy to find grocery store variety, but want to experiment at home, I highly recommend starting with rabbit. It is exceedingly mild and relatively easy to find. Depending on your area you might even find it without bones, if the idea of picking meat of bones (and licking amazingly creamy sauce off your fingers in the process) doesn’t appeal to you. Hope you try it!