Indian Life Newspaper -

Native Cooking

Really Good Rabbit


Last updated 4/8/2020 at 3:07pm


Rabbit, known as Mahtigwessin the Micmac language, is one of the small game that has been a staple of the Native diet. In rural areas, even today, beaver, ground hog, squirrel, raccoon and porcupine are hunted for food. They-along with their game bird cousins: wild turkey, pheasant, duck, quail, goose and others-still provide tasty dining. Many of these are available in commercial form at your market or butcher. Rabbit is one type of game now raised domestically.

This is a far cry from the tough times when my mother and grandmother would send my uncles out to hunt "dinner." They would bring back one or two rabbits, skin and hang them in the cold back hallway of grandma's house. I remember seeing them there once as a child, never realizing they were for dinner.

1 four-to-five-pound rabbit, cut in pieces

1 large onion, cut up or sliced

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 large garlic clove, sliced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon mace

1 cup water or dry white wine

1 teaspoon salt

Flour to dredge

Butter or corn oil to brown

Put rabbit pieces in a plastic bag and add onion, cloves, pepper, garlic, bay leaves, mace, wine or water and salt. Let the rabbit marinate in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. When ready to brown, remove rabbit and pat dry, do not discard the marinade. Dredge or sprinkle pieces with flour. Using a heavy skillet, heat the oil and/or butter (both is ok together) and brown the pieces for a few minutes, turning frequently. Put rabbit in a crockpot and cover with marinade. Cook on low for 6-10 hours, or put in a baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 3 hours. Either way, delicious.

Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author New Native American Cooking, and Native New England Cooking. She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.


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