Dutch sweet and sour rabbit


A lot of people in the south of the Netherlands serve rabbit legs for Christmas. This recipe for Dutch sweet and sour rabbit goes way back in my family.

15 hour 4 people Main course
Dutch sweet and sour rabbit


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  • 4 rabbit legs
  • 3 onions
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves
  • about 10 peppercorns
  • 750 ml vinegar
  • 250 ml water
  • about 250 gram treacle (apple syrup)
  • 600 gram (Dutch) gingerbread
  • butter
  • pepper and salt to taste
Dutch sweet and sour rabbit ingredients
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Kitchen equipment

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  • Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan
  • large bowl
  • cling film
  • paper kitchen towel
  • whisk
  • colander


15 hour 4 people Main course

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Preparation -- marinating overnight

PLACE the rabbit legs in a large bowl. PEEL the onions and roughly chop them. ADD them to the large bowl along with the peppercorns, bay leaves and cloves.

POUR in the vinegar and water, make sure the rabbit legs are fully covered with liquid. Let it marinate overnight for the best result.

After marinating, we're using the marinade as a sauce so don't throw it out! 

Dutch sweet and sour rabbit
Dutch sweet and sour rabbit

Finishing the Dutch sweet and sour rabbit -- 2,5 to 3 hours

TRANSFER the marinated rabbit legs onto a plate and pat them dry using paper kitchen towels. HEAT butter in the Dutch oven and cook the rabbit legs on both sides until they're beautifully browned.

POUR in the vinegar marinade and stir in the treacle. Let it simmer for 2,5 to 3 hours, or until the rabbit meat will literally fall off the bone. REMOVE the rabbit legs from the liquid and sieve the marinade.

STIR in the gingerbread and if you break it into smaller pieces first, it will dissolve faster. You'll notice the gingerbread will make the sauce thicker. SEASON the sauce with maybe some more treacle, pepper and salt.

PLACE the rabbit legs back into the sauce. SERVE with Brussels sprouts and cooked potatoes or mashed potatoes and enjoy!

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