Cookit Homepage Cookit is published by e2bn

History Cookbook: Rabbit Stew

This recipe is in categories Main courses, World War 2
  • Get the Flash Player to see this player.

  • Rabbit Stew
    Rabbit Stew
About this recipe
Healthiness : (217 votes)
Difficulty:  3 out of 5 difficulty
View a modern version of this recipe

Cooking could be very challenging during the war years. Frequent air raids could make it difficult to cook a hot meal. Once the sirens sounded everyone would head for their shelters to wait it out. No one wanted food to became spoiled because it had to be left, rations were not replaced if anything happened to them.

In the centuries before this, farm workers had sometimes used a hay box to keep food slowly cooking but now this method re-gained popularity. A stew or soup could be left packed tightly in hay inside a box where it would continue to cook slowly until needed. This could then provide a hot meal for a family when the raid was over.

Rabbits could be caught wild and the government encouraged people to keep them to provide food. This recipe uses rabbit and was adapted from a pre-war recipe which used cider. The wartime version uses grated apple instead.

For images of the cooking process see our Rabbit Stew Picture Gallery.

With thanks to Sarah Gilkes (Warp and Weft) and Pam McMillan (Time Travelers) for their help with this podcast.

  • 1 whole rabbit, cut into joints
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1oz flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2oz dripping
  • 2 bacon rashers, de-rinded & chopped (if available)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 pint (600ml) water or stock
  • 1 cooking apple
  • fresh herbs (as available)
  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales
  • Tablespoon
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Strainer
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Peeler
  • Frying pan
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Put the rabbit to soak in cold water with the vinegar for 30 minutes 
  2. Remove and dry well
  3. Mix the flour with the salt and pepper and coat the rabbit joints
  4. Heat the dripping and add the bacon rinds.  Then add the rabbit joints and cook steadily for about 10 minutes or until golden brown in colour 
  5. Remove from the pan
  6. Add the bacon, onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes then return the rabbit to the pan
  7. Add the water or stock and the grated apple and stir as the liquid comes to the  boil and thickens slightly 
  8. Add the herbs
  9. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes
  10. Quickly put dish into the hay box and leave for 4 to 5 hours
  11. Serve with seasonal vegetables
Rabbit Stew  - print view  Rabbit Stew - print view

If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
More podcasts
If you enjoyed this podcast, there are plenty more to choose from!

Modern podcasts:
History podcasts:

Or Subscribe to the podcasts RSS feed

There are 25 comments for this recipe.
Add a comment

Name: The Big Bad Wolf 16th January 2017
Name: Daniel Butler 11th February 2016
It is so nice
Name: Noora 19th January 2016
It tastes disgusting it's like a crime
View all comments, or Add a comment

Required fields are bold

Valentine's Chocolate Marzipan Hearts
Sift the flour and cocoa powder together into the bowlCut the butter into small cubes and add to...