As Americans, most of us grew up with traditional Christmas food such as turkey and spiral ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, and vegetables. But one of the fantastic things about living in the United States is the melting pot of cultures and ancestry that has brought foods and traditions into our American cuisine from all over the world.
Did you know that eating rabbit for Christmas is considered a tradition for many Dutch and German families? Eating rabbit meat is also something both the French and Italian do pretty frequently. Hunting and eating rabbits have been something we have done as humans since recorded history, and it's still common to see on the menus in the Mediterranean, as well.
Preparing a Christmas rabbit may not be for everyone. Still, suppose you seek something a little different from the norm or embrace a dish typical from other cultures and areas of the world. In that case, you may find something unexpectedly delicious in a few of our favorite Christmas Rabbit recipes below!
Dutch Sweet and Sour Rabbit
Many people in the south of the Netherlands enjoy serving rabbit legs for Christmas. This sweet and sour rabbit recipe can be considered a holiday stable for many Dutch families.
- 4 rabbit legs
- 3 onions
- 4 bay leaves
- 5 cloves
- Roughly 10 peppercorns
- 3 cups vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup apple syrup
- 2 and ½ cups gingerbread
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place rabbit legs in a large bowl. Peel and roughly chop the onions and add them to the large bowl, peppercorns, bay leaves, and cloves.
- Pour in the vinegar and water, making sure the rabbit legs are fully covered with liquid. Cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight for the best result.
- After marinading, don't throw out the sauce! We'll be using that to cook into a sauce.
- Transfer marinated rabbit legs to a plate and pat dry using paper towels. Heat butter in a dutch oven and cook the rabbit legs until both sides are golden brown and cooked.
- Pour the marinade into the dutch oven and stir in the apple syrup. Let it simmer for 3 to 3 hours, or until the rabbit meat falls off the bone. Remove the rabbit legs from the liquid and strain the marinade.
- Next, stir the gingerbread into your strained marinade. Breaking it up into smaller pieces first will help it dissolve faster, making the sauce thicker. Season the sale if needed with more apple syrup, salt, and pepper.
- Place the rabbit legs back into the sauce and serve with a side of your choice.
Hasenpfeffer: German Rabbit Stew
Hase is German for ""hare,"" and Pfeffer is German for pepper. However, in the culinary context, the Pfeffer generally refers to a broad mix of spices and seasonings in the dish overall. This is a traditional German stew made from marinated rabbit or hare.
- 3 lbs of rabbit meat, cleaned and cut into pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ lbs bacon, diced
- ½ cup finely diced shallots
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
- 1 tablespoon currant jelly
- 10 crush black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- Place bacon in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the bacon is golden brown evenly. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels, then set aside. Sprinkle the rabbit meat with salt and coat with 1/3 cup of flour, shaking off any excess. Place the flour-coated rabbit in the pan with the leftover bacon fat and brown. Remove the browned rabbit from the skillet, along with all but two tablespoons of the fat, reserving it.
- Saute the shallots and garlic in the skillet for about 4 minutes until tender, then stir in the wine, 1 cup of water, and the bouillon. Heat the mixture to boiling, adding jelly, peppercorns, bay leaf, and rosemary. Return the rabbit and bacon to the skillet, reheat to boiling, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer roughly 1 ½ hour or until the rabbit meat is fork-tender.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard, then place rabbit with the stew on a platter to keep warm while preparing the gravy.
- To make the gravy, stir lemon juice into the skillet with the cooking liquid, combine 3 tablespoons of water with 2 tablespoons flour, and then mix flour and water. Next, stir the flour and water into the skillet over low heat, then add the thyme. Once thickened to your preference, pour the gravy into the stew if you like, or place it in a gravy boat off to the side and serve.
Christmas and Christmas dinner this year can be whatever you want to make of it. In traditional Dutch settings and the menus of Dutch restaurants, you'll find that they offer many varied rabbit dishes on Christmas Day, and many Dutch may remember rabbit as the ultimate Christmas dish.
Whether you would love to keep the tradition going yourself or try something new, at Wholey's, we're dedicated to making the entire experience with your food easier and more convenient than ever. With a fantastic assortment of the highest-quality cuts of meat, seafood, and so much more, there'll always be something new to explore and dishes to create—delivered right to your front door. Guaranteed fresh and delectable, we're dedicated to helping families all across America to fall in love with cooking and meals all over again.
At Wholey's, you can even get premium-quality rabbit meat to explore brand new dishes and enjoy savory entrees you may have never considered before. This holiday season, try something new and thrill your friends, family, and dinner guests with dishes that will always have them wanting more.