Not Peter Rabbit Stew

  • Recipe(s): Tender-as-you-like rabbit stew with the best dumplings ever(page 197)
  • Prep: Moderate
  • Taste: Good

Peter Rabbit Series – Part 1….

The other night, October 14, 2014, we delved into one half of the rabbit recipes from the book. Never in my life have I cooked rabbit, nor have I ever thought that I would. In my mind rabbits are those fluffy little happy-go-lucky animals that bounce around and eat grass, not something that would end up on my dinner plate. Well, after today I am happy to say that, while they are still all those things, they are also quite tasty!

The prep on the recipe is definitely on the high end of moderate. Not only is there a lot going on at the same time but you have to joint the rabbit (cut it apart at the joints) and then chop it into smaller pieces. We actually quartered the recipe (it called for 2 rabbits), so I only used half a rabbit in the recipe. We will be using the other half later this week for another recipe from the book.

The easiest part of the prep is the part you do first, make dumplings. I saw my Mom make these when I was young but had never made them myself, until now. They are fairly simple to make. The only issue I ran into with the dumplings was that I didn’t make enough. I didn’t think of it at the time but the dumplings are supposed to act as the ‘lid’ to the stew when it is in the oven. The problem was that I quartered the recipe so I quartered the dumplings as well. Of course the pot size didn’t change so I didn’t have enough dumplings to create a sufficient lid.

I decided to just go with it not knowing what would happen. Well…..if you didn’t know this, dumplings expand. My lid went from covering half the stew to almost 80% after 15 minutes in the oven. I was saved by the lovely expansion of the dumpling!

The stew had a very deep flavour to it. It reminded me of the Irish stew that I have ordered in the past from one of my favourite pubs in our area, ‘The Wicklow.’ All of the ingredients; onion, bacon (yum), mushrooms, chicken stock, rosemary, and dark beer (double yum) screamed deep flavours when I read the recipe. Let me say this….they didn’t disappoint. The stew was nice and earthy but it also had a pleasant saltiness to it. To me, the combination of flavours were perfect. My partner, though, was less enthralled with the dish. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but the flavours just didn’t work for her. She did like the dumplings though. One thing that neither of us liked was the fact that the bones were left in the meat, so eating the stew involved a lot of picking out bones and was awkward to eat with a spoon.

You might be wondering about the main ingredient, the rabbit. Well, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post they are tasty. Was it the best choice of meat for the stew? I think the stew could be made with a different protein and be just as good but the rabbit was nice. It is kind of like dark chicken meat, in that it’s not overpowering, which was nice because it didn’t overwhelm the rest of the stew, which to me was the best part. If I made this again I may try it with either chicken or some elk meat, which I just happened to pick up in 100 Mile House last weekend.

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