The hasenpfeffer was really good but the rabbit meat was a bit dry. The traditional recipe calls for hare, which I think would be better.
The sauce though...WOW! Luckily I served some rice on the side so we all had lots of sauce and rice. I also made some no-knead bread for our friend to taste. He makes his own sourdough bread every day and was impressed with the texture and flavor of the no-knead recipe.
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 rabbit or hare, cut into 6 or 8 serving pieces, about 3 lbs or 1.5 kilos
several sprigs fresh parsley or thyme, tied together
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 thick slices bacon or 150 grams lardons
2 cups minced onion
1 cup peeled and diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1/2 lb wild or button mushrooms, chopped
flour for dredging
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
Mix together the marinade in a bowl large enough to hold all the rabbit pieces comfortably and leave in the refrigerator overnight. (12 to 24 hours) Try to turn the pieces at least once for even marinating.
Remove the rabbit pieces from the marinade, pat them dry and strain the marinade, reserving the liquid to use later on.
Cut the bacon into pieces (not necessary if using lardons) and render over low heat in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet. As soon as it starts to crisp remove it to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Add the minced onion, chopped carrot and celery and mushrooms to the pan and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are soft. Remove them and set aside with the bacon, leaving any fat or liquid in the pan. If the pan is dry, put in a bit of butter.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and dredge the rabbit pieces in flour. Brown them well on both sides, sprinkling with salt and pepper as they brown. Put the bacon and vegetables back in the pan as soon as the rabbit has browned and add the reserved marinade liquid and the herbs. Turn the heat up a bit, bring the liquid to a boil and add the chocolate and more pepper, stirring well afterward.
Lower the heat until simmering gently, cover and cook about an hour until the rabbit is tender and the sauce is nice and thick. Do not overcook the rabbit, it tends to be a drier meat than chicken.
Remove the herbs, check for seasoning and serve with buttered rice, noodles or polenta and plenty of good bread.
I will definitely make this again, but with chicken legs. I think they will be delicious with the sauce.