On a mini road trip through the South, I ate many wonderful things, from alligator compound butter (you read that right), to a chicken dish that was a stew of sorts, cooked until the chicken fell from the bone and blended with peaches and whiskey. Ree Drummond, better known as The Pioneer Woman, made the chicken dish and she fed it to me after an evening herding cattle on horseback at her expansive Oklahoma ranch. When I finally got to Arkansas, my hunting friends mentioned that they had six rabbits in the freezer waiting to be cooked. What was I going to make with them? I had an idea.
Using the lingering memory of Ree’s recipe to guide me at the grocery store in a remote corner of Arkansas, I butchered the rabbits and made a sweet and tangy stew that was so delicious that we had it for breakfast the next morning. And the next morning after that. If you have any rabbits, game birds or even chicken in your freezer, I think you’ll enjoy this recipe tremendously. It’s versatile, inexpensive and once the ingredients are in the pot, you can walk away for hours and come back to results that taste like you have been working tirelessly in the kitchen. It’s the best kind of recipe.
Whiskey Peach Rabbit (Inspired by the book The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier)
4 tablespoons olive oil or butter 6 rabbits, quartered Salt and pepper 1 medium onion, diced 1 ½ cups whiskey 2 cups barbecue sauce 2 chipotle peppers in Adobo, chopped 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 4 to 6 cups fresh peach slices 2 cups water 1 bunch kale, collards or other leafy green, roughly chopped 2 tb peach preserves (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven and brown the rabbit quarters for about four minutes on each side. Season each side with salt and pepper as you go. You will need to work in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, transferring the meat to a plate once it is well browned adding new meat.
2. Once the rabbit is on a plate, add the diced onion to the pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring until translucent.
3. Pour in the whiskey and reduce to about half. Add the barbecue sauce and chipotle pepper and stir.
4. Add the rabbit quarters to the pot, then the peaches. Cover with foil or a lid and place in the oven for at least 2.5 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. In the last 10 minutes, add the greens and peach preserves and stir.
5. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice. It is delicious the next day for breakfast too! Serves 8 to 10.