This recipe highlights the succulent cotton tailed rabbit. They are found in every state, and are great sport for the whole family to engage in hunting. You will need two or three for the recipe depending on the size of the rabbit. The meat is super lean, so add some extra seasoning if desired. I like to mix a bit of suet with the meat because it is so lean for a little extra flavor. You can get super-creative with the preparation and add some freshly foraged wild mushrooms, and different cheeses for an exotic combination. If you are not a hunter, domestic rabbit can be bought at most health food stores. This recipe reminds me of my Hungarian heritage and is a welcome comfort food in the cold winter months. Share the bounty of your wild catch with family and friends whenever possible, and cherish the meats of the field.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped white onion
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kitchen bouquet
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 ¼ pound ground rabbit meat
  • Sour cream

Preparation Method
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 X 13 inch glass baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the cabbage, and put the cabbage into the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes or until the outer leaves are tender. Remove from pot and rinse in cold water, then peel the leaves off. You will only use 8 -10 of the large outer leaves. Let these drain and start in with the sauce.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the chopped onion, and sauté about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Stir the onions often so they do not burn. Add the tomato sauce, garlic, brown sugar, Kitchen bouquet, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and reserve for use.

In a large bowl, combine the rice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, remaining onion, and salt. Crumble the meat over the mixture, and mix well.

Remove the thick vein from the cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place about ½ cup of the meat mixture on each leaf, and fold in the sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up the leaf to completely enclose the filling. You may need to play with the amount of filling to get them to roll the way you want. They do not have to be perfect; they only need to fully encase the meat filling. Place them seam side down in the baking pan. Keep rolling them until all the filling is gone. Pour the sauce over the top of them and bake, covered, in the 350 degree F oven. Cook for one hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

Serve alongside a fresh green salad and garnish each roll with a dollop of sour cream. The sour cream will mix with the sauce and envelope the rolls in creamy goodness.

This dish pairs well with a Grenache or Sangiovese. Put a little “hop” in your dinner with this ethnic specialty.

Cheers!