Steven Rinella can cook anything, which pairs nicely with his ability to hunt anything anywhere. He's Outside's go to guy for anything food and wilderness related, whether it's a quest to find the tastiest Argentinean steak or a mission to hunt Buffalo in Alaska. Now Rinella, the author of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine and an Outside Literary All-Star, will make his television debut this Sunday night (9 pm EST) as the star of the new Travel Channel Show The Wild Within. We'll be tuning in—both to watch him suffer as he hunts, fishes, and forages in the world's most remote locations and to steal some of the rustic family recipes he cooks up. To wet our pallete, Rinella has graciously offered up a clip of what's to come and one of his favorite family dishes.
Steven Rinella's Rabbit Hasenpjeffer
This recipe for rabbit (or squirrel) hasenpfeffer has been floating around in my family for a long time. The name translates to peppered hare, and many people know it from the evil German king-type guy from cartoons who's always demanding that the dish be prepared for him from the flesh of Bugs Bunny. My mother says this particular recipe originally came to my grandmother from the print on a box of frozen rabbit, but we've always used it for wild cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares. Nowadays, I most commonly use this dish when preparing squirrels.
Start with the animal skinned and cut into five pieces (4 legs and the back.) You want 2-3 pounds of meat. Soak it for two or three days in a brine of:
1.5 cup water
1.5 cup cider vinegar
1teaspoon whole cloves
3 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
After the brining period, drain the meat and save the brine. Then pat the meat dry and dust it in flour. Fry the pieces in hot oil until they are nicely browned. Then add the onions and fry them a bit. Then pour in the brine, enough to cover the meat, and let it simmer on a low flame for 2-3 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Remove the meat and thicken the gravy in the pan with crushed gingersnap cookies. Then pour the gravy over the meat. Serve hot with mashed potatoes. You'll be happy you made this dish. It's top shelf.