In the north, winters are long, dark, and just as cold as you'd expect. Finding the will to spend lots of time outdoors can be tough when the temperature gets low enough. There's only so much time you can spend ice-fishing before you get tired of sitting on a frozen stool. However, if you've been raising rabbits for meat, this would be a perfect time to try making a warm rabbit stew and dumplings.
If you haven't raised rabbits but live in the north, use this opportunity to get out for some winter hunting. Rabbit hunting is a great way to keep active through the harsh north winters while providing you with some pretty tasty meat. Plus, you won't get frozen sitting still for hours on end.
Most areas of North America have rabbit hunting seasons through the winter. To learn more about how to get started rabbit hunting in your area, check out MeatEater's Guide to Hunting Rabbits.
To make this rabbit stew and dumplings recipe, make sure you have your favorite cast iron cookware ready to go. A large cast-iron dutch oven will work best and it gives you the option to cook on a wood cookstove or open fire. If your rabbit hasn't been butchered or processed yet, check out the rest of our series to learn more about rabbits and how to prepare them for the kitchen.
Rabbit Stew and Dumplings Ingredients
4 tablespoons of butter
1.5 cups of sliced carrots
1 cup of chopped celery
2 small white onions, diced
1 bulb of garlic, thinly diced
2 cups of potatoes, quartered
4 cups of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of Rosemary
6 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon of butter
½ cup of milk
1 tablespoon of dried parsley (optional)
¾ teaspoon of dried sage (optional)
How To Make Rabbit Stew and Dumplings:
- Prepare your rabbit for the stew by quartering it into pieces for cooking, like this.
- Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat.
- Once melted, add your rabbit and brown all the pieces evenly on all sides. At medium heat, this can be done in about 10 minutes. If your pot isn't big enough to brown the entire rabbit at once, do it in batches to ensure the pan doesn't get crowded.
- Remove the rabbit from the pot and place it off to the side on a plate or cutting board to rest.
- Add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic, and potatoes to the pot. Add a splash of chicken broth to deglaze the pan and get any browned bits off the bottom. This will help add vital taste to your stew. Stir the vegetables thoroughly for a few minutes.
- Add your salt, pepper, bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme to the dutch oven.
- Pour the rest of your chicken broth into the pot, submerging all of your ingredients. If you have too much or too little broth for your pot, adjust accordingly. You don't want the pot to overflow when you add the rabbit back, but you also don't want your stew to dry out.
- Add the rabbit pieces back in and make sure they're submerged in the chicken broth. Let simmer on low for 60 minutes.
- After 50 minutes, remove the rabbit pieces again. Using a knife (or your hands), begin deboning the pieces of rabbit you've set aside. This is a personal preference. I find it easier to take the bones out first and add all of the meat back into the stew to finish. Some people prefer to serve the stew with the rabbit bones in. I've done it both ways and haven't noticed a drastic difference, it's just easier to eat.
- Once you've removed the bones, add the meat back into the stew. Check the taste of the stew and add more salt if needed.
- Using a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- Cut in the butter slowly to bring the dough to a crumbly texture.
- Add in the milk and stir thoroughly. The dough will become soft and a little wet.
- At this point, you can add some light seasonings to bring a little flavor to your dumplings. People often add dried parsley flakes, dried sage, or other common spices that will pair well with your stew. The dumplings have minimal taste, so any added flavor will do.
- Drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the boiling stew. They will puff up and float on the top. Once you've added all your dough, cover the pot and let simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the lid and check that the dumplings have cooked through.
- Serve, and enjoy!
This post is part of the Homestead Blog Hop #318!