Rabbit Fricassee
Poultry, Stews

Rabbit Fricassee (‘Kaninchenfrikassee’)

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Last Updated on 8 months by Tim

Rabbit has all that flavor that chicken is missing. It tastes gamey in a very pleasant way. Served in a creamy sauce, it is irresistible. Rabbit fricassee, simply wonderful!

Rabbit used to be insanely popular across Germany. Many older people like my grandma even held their own rabbits which were then slaughtered for special-occasion meals like Easter. I know it sounds macabre to eat the Easter bunny, so maybe you don’t want to serve it on Easter Sunday if you have small kids. Chicken fricassee is just as delicious for non-rabbit eaters.

Rabbit is very easy to prepare and super inexpensive. If you’re friends with a hunter, you can even get a wild rabbit for free. Or, just buy a farmed one in the store as I did. Farm-raised rabbits taste less gamey and are more tender than the wild variety. However, some people say they lack taste. So, if you’re a big fan of game meat, maybe consider using a wild rabbit for this dish.

How to cook rabbit

Rabbit is very lean meat. It has less fat than chicken and turkey so don’t expect it to be super juicy. The main way to prepare it is to braise the rabbit in parts until the meat is fork-tender and hasn’t dried out too much. The leg quarters take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to become tender. The back fillet is done much faster and also suitable as a ‘rabbit-steak’.

Whole rabbit
Rabbit Meat Parts

To make up for the lack of juiciness, rabbit must always be served with plenty of sauce. So, nearly every German or French recipe for rabbit you’re going to find out there is going to be some kind of fricassee. The rabbit is gently braised in a flavorful liquid until tender. The braising liquid then gets reduced and thickened to a sauce-like texture.

I’ve included instructions on how to cut up a whole rabbit in my recipe. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so you can ask your butcher to do the work for you. Rabbit is usually sold with the organs still inside. Make sure to not waste the liver, heart, and kidney. Especially the liver tastes glorious. The organs are a treat quickly pan-fried on a slice of bread.

What goes into my braising liquid for rabbit fricassee

I braise rabbit in white wine along with some soup vegetables. It’s simple and delicate. The only spices I use are juniper berries, allspice berries, black peppercorns, and bay leaf. Juniper berries can be found in almost any game dish in Germany. They have a fruity flavor that pairs exceptionally well with rabbit, venison, wild pig, and deer.

Braising liquid
Brasing the rabbit fricassee

To get a really good fricassee sauce, stir some mustard into your soup vegetables before deglazing the pan with white wine. The mustard will give the sauce a slight tang without overwhelming other flavors.

The fricassee sauce gets thickened with crème fraîche and cornstarch. Whisk a small amount of broth into your crème fraîche before you add it to the sauce. That way it is easier to incorporate the crème fraîche and you won’t need to stir as vigorously.

Thickening the sauce with crème fraîche

As always when thickening with a cornstarch slurry, be very conservative with the amount you add. The rabbit fricassee sauce should be creamy and not gummy. It’s ok if it is on the thinner side. You’re going to serve a generous amount of it anyway because the rabbit needs plenty of sauce. That’s why I also recommend you to serve this dish in small soup bowls. The more sauce, the better the dish.

How to serve rabbit fricassee

Rabbit meat

Eating just rabbit meat and sauce is a bit boring. I add some sauteed button mushrooms and cooked potatoes to my fricassee. They both soak up the sauce beautifully and are quick and easy to prepare while your rabbit braises in the oven.

The final sprinkling of chives is optional, but it makes the dish look prettier because the overall color is pretty monotone yellow-brownish. The green color of the chives just pops into your eyes and makes the rabbit fricassee more vibrant. You can also substitute parsley or chervil if you have them on hand.

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