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Rabbit, German Style

True confession: I’m hoping that slipping in a rabbit recipe during Bambi-hunting season won’t draw as much fire as doing so, in say, the spring. The fact is that as uncomfortable as many of us are about feasting on the Easter Bunny and Peter Rabbit (Bugs, too!) we’d do well to add this lean, mild meat—that comes sans the environmental and health baggage of large-scale industrial meat farms—to our cooking lexicon. With a handful of small farms raising rabbit in Northern Michigan now (see the list below), the time is right to try a rabbit in your pot.

Credit this hearty, autumn-worthy dish to my friends Norm Wheeler (Leelanau Schools teacher and Beach Bard) and Northern Michigan–beloved vocalist Claudia Schmidt, who found the original version in a 1966 edition of Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. –Lissa Edwards

Ingredients

  • 1 young rabbit
  • 3 smoked pork sausages
  • 1⁄2  cup cabernet franc or cab franc/merlot blend
  • 1⁄2  cup beer
  • 1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup beef consommé
  • 1 cup browned breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1⁄2 lemon peel, grated
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

Cut (or ask your rabbit farmer to cut) rabbit into serving pieces. Rinse pieces. Parboil. Drain and set aside. Place sausages, wine and beer in large skillet or Dutch oven. Simmer covered for 30 minutes, turning sausages several times. Meanwhile, place breadcrumbs in a heavy pan on medium heat, tossing until they are toasted. Set aside. Remove sausages from skillet, skim fat off remaining liquid, add all ingredients except sausage and rabbit and stir. Add rabbit. Cover and simmer gently for 11⁄2 hours, spooning liquid over rabbit every 20 minutes or so. Add sausages and simmer another half hour. Serve.