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Easter is here, and we have rabbits on our mind. My mom originally got some version of this recipe from the back of a box containing a frozen domestic rabbit. She used it to prepare countless squirrels or rabbits that my two brothers and I bagged as kids, and it’s still a favorite dish for the three of us. We hope you enjoy this tried and true Rabbit Hasenpfeffer recipe just in time for Easter. This recipe and many others can be found in The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game, Vol. 2: Small Game and Fowl, available at bookstores now.

Note: This recipe can be applied to any small game animal.



  • 2-3 pounds rabbit or squirrel (legs and back)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ cup flour
  • Cooking oil
  • 5 or 6 crushed gingerbread cookies, (optional).

To Prepare:

  1.  Combine the water, vinegar, cloves, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, and allspice to make the brine.
  2. Place the meat in a food safe tub, pour over the brine and set a heavy plate on top of the meat to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for two or three days.
  3. Remove the meat and pat it dry with paper towels. (Reserve the leftover brine).
  4. Dust the pieces with flour, and start to brown them in a ¼” of cooking oil in a heavy, low-rimmed pot (such as a Dutch oven) set over medium-high heat.
  5. Remove meat, pour off excess oil, and return meat to the pot arranging it in a single layer on the bottom. Add enough of the brine to just barely cover the meat then let it simmer over low heat for 1 ½ hours.
  6. Remove the meat and thicken the remaining cooked brine in the pan with flour or, preferably, crushed gingersnap cookies.

Lay the cooked meat over a bed of mashed potatoes and drown in thickened sauce.