Rabbit and Dumpling Soup Recipe

This soup tastes like the familiar chicken and dumplings from my childhood. But instead of chicken, I used cottontail rabbit. As for the dumplings, their recipe is adapted from “Joy of Cooking”—one of the most fundamental resources for making American cuisine.

Serving size

4-6

Time to make

4-6 hours

Ingredients

3 cottontail rabbits
1 large onion, diced
3 celery sticks, chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 cups stock
1 tbsp. fresh minced herbs*
1/8 tsp. ground white or black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Oil, bacon fat, or clarified butter for cooking

1 cup all-purpose flour**
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground white or black pepper
1 egg, beaten
6 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. fresh minced herbs*

Also works with

Squirrel, turkey, any upland bird

Special equipment

Wide pot

Method

1
  1. Break the skinned rabbits down into 6 serving pieces by cutting off all four legs at the hip and shoulder joints, then cutting the body in half. Season each piece with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of cooking fat and brown the rabbit pieces, making sure to not over-crowd the pan. Work in batches and add more oil or clarified butter if needed. After each piece has browned, remove and set aside.
  3. Add another tablespoon of cooking oil to the pan. Once the fat shimmers, add the onion and sauté until soft and light golden in color. Add the celery, carrots, and garlic. Continue to sauté until they begin to soften. Season with your blend of herbs.
  4. Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and toss to combine.
  5. Return the rabbit pieces to the pot and pour in the stock. Stir until blended.
  6. Increase the heat until the liquid just barely begins to bubble, then reduce it to low and maintain a gentle simmer. You can skim the scum off the top as it cooks. Cook for roughly 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. Partially cover the pot while cooking so that the liquid slightly reduces to a flavorful broth.
  7. Use tongs to fish out each piece of rabbit. Use a fork to shred the meat off the bones. Discard the bones and place the shredded meat back in the pot.
  8. Pour in the heavy cream and allow it to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes uncovered. Taste and season with extra salt or pepper if needed. Use this time to make the dumpling batter following the recipe below.
  9. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting so that the soup is just barely simmering but not bubbling. Drop a spoonful of the dumpling dough one at a time, allowing one ball to settle before adding the next so they don’t stick together. After you’ve added all of the dumplings, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Let the dumplings steam inside for 15 minutes. Gentle heat and steam will make the softest, lightest dumplings.
  10. The dumplings are cooked through when they are no longer sticky, or when a toothpick comes out clean. Serve immediately while still hot.

Herbed Dumplings

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
  2. Use a spoon and fold the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until combined, but don’t over stir. The batter should be stiff and lumpy, almost like biscuit dough. If it isn’t stiff, add a sprinkle more of flour. If it is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk.

*You can use a blend of one or more of these fresh herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, or celery leaves. If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can substitute with 1 1/2 tsp. of dried poultry seasoning.

** For the lightest, fluffiest dumpling, use cake flour instead of all-purpose.