Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Homesteader Recipes: Rabbit Stew and Dumplings

When my great grandfather, Wilhelm Schalin, immigrated with his wife and children to Alberta, Canada, from Russia (now Ukraine), they came with several other members of their church and settled south of Edmonton in a place they named Fredericksheim. An Indian reservation had been cleared and land was available to homestead. The Canadian Pacific railroad only went as far west as Winnipeg so they had to travel another 800 miles by horse and wagon.

Once they settled on the land they homesteaded, they had to clear it, survive the coming winter, and begin farming the next spring. During the winter, the families survived on rabbits they trapped and flour sent by the government from Winnipeg. The following recipe for rabbit stew and dumplings is a typical recipe from Fredericksheim's pioneer past.

Rabbit Stew and Dumplings

1 rabbit
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1/4 pound salt pork
1 large onion
1/2 medium turnip, sliced
3 carrots, quartered
3 potatoes, quartered
salt and pepper to taste
dumplings (see page 94)

Soak rabbit overnight in cold water. In the morning dry meat well. Cut into serving pieces. Dredge in flour; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut pork and fry in skillet. When pork is nicely browned, remove pieces to stew pot, leaving fat in skillet. Put the pieces of rabbit in hot fat and brown on both sides. Remove to stew pot with enough water to cover meat. Simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until tender. Add vegetables and simmer until done.

15 minutes before vegetables are tender, drop in the dumplings, cover tightly. Cook for 20 more minutes.

Feather Dumplings

2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients. Add egg, melted butter and enough milk to make moist, stiff batter. Drop by teaspoon in to hot water or simmering stew. Cover tightly and cook 20 minutes.

These recipes are from the book, From Pioneer Kitchens: 100th Anniversary, which was collected and published by Southern Alberta Pioneers and Their Descendants.

Book has been digitized by the Alberta HeritageDigitization Project

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