A Taste for History: Fried Rabbit Recipe

This savory recipe was well known to many soldiers during the Civil War era.

| July 2018

  • Although less common now, rabbit was once a common wild staple, especially during the civil war when dinner needed to be resourceful.
    Photo by Getty/bauhaus1000
  • “A Taste for War” by William C. Davis explores the history of Civil War cooking and shares recipes that nourished life during hard times.
    Cover courtesy of the University of Nebraska Press

A Taste for War (University of Nebraska Press, 2011), by William C. Davis, explores the culinary history of the United States’ most devastating war and reproduces recipes originating from that time. William C. Davis, a professor of history, is a renowned author of southern and civil war history books and the director of programs for the Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. This excerpt from A Taste for War is a recipe for Fried Rabbit.


  • 1/3 cup of lard
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup of cream
  • 1 rabbit


  1. Heat 1/3 cup of lard in a heavy frying pan until very hot.
  2. Skin, clean, and joint a rabbit, and dredge the pieces in a mixture of 1 cup of flour with 1 teaspoon each of salt and black and red peppers.
  3. Put the pieces in the hot lard, and fry until a golden brown, turning once.
  4. Pour off excess, and add a chopped onion, 1 cup of beef stock, and 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar. Simmer for 1 hour or until the rabbit is tender.
  5. Remove the rabbit from the pan and keep warm.
  6. Pour a 2/3 cup of cream into the skillet and stir constantly, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, until it has thickened into a gravy. Pour over the rabbit when served.

More from A Taste for War:

Excerpted from A Taste for War: The Culinary History of the Blue and Gray by William C. Davis by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. ©2003 by Stackpole Books; first Nebraska paperback printing: 2011.



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