Wednesday, May 6, 2015


When I was in high school, I took German as a foreign language. Though I've never lived in Germany I've gotten to visit it twice over the years and I've always had a fondness for German culture as the dominant cultural element of my parental lineage.

Being a foodie, I also have an affinity for German cuisine. Think sauerbraten, wienerschnitzel, sausage and sauerkraut, spätzle, and spätlese—not to mention beer. I also grew up in the '50s, and that meant untold hours in front of the television set watching Saturday morning cartoons. In addition to the Road Runner and Tom & Jerry, there was plenty of Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd.

If you'll recall, Elmer was always trying to protect his garden and Bugs was invariably successful in finding a way to extract the carrots despite Elmer's best efforts on defense. In some episodes a big deal was made of recipes for hasenpfeffer, which is a German dish featuring rabbit (hasen=hare + pfeffer=pepper; essentially rabbit stew). Of course, Elmer was thinking of featuring Bugs as the main course. Though that never happened, "hasenpfeffer" entered my working vocabulary at an early age.

Tonight, for the first time, I'm actually going to eat it. I'm visiting my good friend, Annie Shrader in Floyd VA this week and she pulled a rabbit out of the hat freezer for the occasion. It was my job to figure out how to cook it. We quickly agreed that the crock pot was the way to go, and the rabbit is stewing even as I type.

As I understand it, any dish comprised of rabbit, onions, spices, and a marinade qualifies as hasenpfeffer. Tonight's culinary concoction relies on tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, tarragon, pinot grigio, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Yum!

It's fun pioneering a new recipe, and I can't wait for Annie's next rabbit, when I can try a hasenpfeffer variation that incorporates, cabernet sauvignon, currant jelly, and bacon. (How can you go wrong?)

Bon appétit!

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