Wild birds or rabbits:

What will be on your table?



Small-game hunting season is just around the corner so here are some recipes to consider if you have a successful hunt. Most are wild bird recipes since that is more my preference.

However, in looking through this very old book, The Wildlife Chef, which I purchased at an antique shop, I noticed a recipe for hasenpfeffer.

Now, many of you may recall the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon where Bugs Bunny was being eyed up as the main ingredient for a specialty dinner that an overbearing monarch was demanding, “I want my hasenpfeffer!” This is what came to mind when I saw the recipe. I really didn’t know what hasenpfeffer was – now I do.

Fortunately, Bugs was able to wile his way through yet another close call and continued to entertain us for many more years. So, while rabbit isn’t my cup of tea, I decided to include if for those who may want to try it or just be entertained by memories of good ol’ Bugs.

Grouse Au Vin

• 1 qt. port wine
• 6 whole cloves
• 6 medium slices onion
• 1 large bay leaf
• 1 tsp. sage
• 2 c. flour
• 1/4 lb. margarine or butter
• 1 ½ tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. black pepper
• 2 birds

After the birds have been thoroughly cleaned, cut into pieces as you would a chicken. Combine port wine, cloves, onions, bay leaf, and sage. Soak pieces in this wine mixture for 2-3 days, storing in refrigerator.

Drain the birds, reserving the liquid. Wipe dry and dip in flour to which has been added salt and pepper. Brown on both sides in margarine or butter. Turn the birds and the liquid into a casserole. Cover for baking in a slow oven, 300 degrees, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until tender.

Partridge Breasts in Cheese Sauce

• 4 partridge breasts
• 2 cans cheddar cheese soup
• 1 small can pimento, sliced

• 2 slices bacon, crumbled
• 1 c. milk
• Flour
• Salt and pepper

Roll partridge breasts in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown in bacon fat. Put in casserole dish. Combine soup and milk. Pour over meat. Lay strips of pimento over birds and sprinkle bacon over it all. Bake, covered at 325 degrees for 1-1/4 hours. Uncover and return to oven to brown cheese.

Camp Birds

• 2- 3 partridges (or pheasants)
• Salad oil (bacon grease if using
• 1 small onion, chopped fine
• 1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and
slice lengthwise
• 1/4 c. brandy
• Nutmeg
• Sweet fern
• Salt and pepper
• 1/2 – I c. Jim Beam bourbon or
chicken broth
• 1 Tbsp. cornstarch or 2 Tbsp. flour

Brown partridges in salad oil, or pheasants in bacon grease, in skillet. Remove birds and keep warm. To brownings in skillet, add onion and mushrooms. Sauté until onions are limp and the mushrooms start to juice. Return birds to pan and flame as follows:

Add 1/4 cup of brandy – DO NOT BOIL. Heat one large cooking spoon filled with additional brandy; when almost boiling, light spoonful with a splinter from the fire and pour flaming brandy into the skillet. Shake pan continuously until flame burns out. Season with nutmeg (optional), sweet fern, salt (be careful if bacon grease was used) and fresh pepper. Add Jim Beam bourbon or chicken broth. Cover skillet, cook gently for 1/2 an hour or until juices run clear when birds are pierced with a fork.

If desired, thicken sauce with 1 tablespoon cornstarch or 2 tablespoons pancake flour. Blend smooth with 1/4 cup cold water and simmer gently in pan juices. Remove bird before thickening sauce. Serve with French bread, rice, green salad and fruit conserve.


• 1 large rabbit, 3-4 lbs. Soak in marinade 1-2 days, turning every 10 hours


• 2 c. vinegar
• 1 c. claret
• 1 c. water
• 1 sliced onion, ringed
• 1 tsp. rosemary
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp. pepper
• 1 tsp. dry mustard
• 6 whole cloves
• 6 bay leaves

Take rabbit out and pat dry. Dredge in flour, with a little salt and pepper added. Brown in 1/2 cup hot fat. Put on absorbent paper to drain, then in a pot. Strain marinade through a sieve, add to rabbit, plus 1/2 cup claret. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Season to taste. Make gravy from the drippings.

Serve with potato dumplings.

Brunswick Stew

• 2 lbs. meat (disjointed rabbit,
squirrels or partridges)
• 1/4 c. oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 c. water

• 1 diced lemon
• 1 c. tomatoes, diced
• 1 c. lima beans
• 1 c. corn
• Salt and pepper

Brown meat in hot oil until brown, along with onions. Add 1 cup water and tomatoes and cover. Simmer until tender. Then add the rest of the vegetables and cook 10-15 minutes until done. Salt and pepper.

Do you have recipes to share? We’d love to hear from you. Email your recipes to kirstenr@htfnews.us. Please include your name, city of residence and a telephone number.

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