This recipe came from my grandmother, via one of my aunts. I'll admit, I use chicken instead of rabbit because I normally can't bring myself to eat rabbit. But my father and his brothers grew up trapping rabbits during the Great Depression, and this dish was something they ate. Feel free to use chicken, as it is a tasty substitution. Or, you can buy rabbit already dressed in the freezer section.
1Use a heavy dutch oven for this dish. Lightly dredge rabbit pieces in flour seasoned with the salt, pepper and paprika. You only want a very light coating, NOT thick as for fried chicken.
You can also use the leftover seasoned flour from dredging as part of the 1/4 cup in the gravy, as it will be cooked.
2Heat shortening in dutch oven and brown the rabbit pieces well on all sides, turning as needed.
3Add onion and chicken stock (I used 3 1/2 cups) and bring to a boil; lower heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
In mixing bowl, cut shortening into self-rising flour with a pastry cutter. Stir in the chopped parsley. Stir in milk just until blended. (Note: I had to add 2 tablespoons more flour to get dumplings to the correct consistency for dropping. They should not be too liquid but should hold their shape, like drop biscuits.)
5Drop dough by spoonfuls ONTO the rabbit in the pot, but not down into the liquid. (OK, some of my dumplings did get down into the liquid, but they were fine.)
Cook dumplings UNCOVERED at a good simmer for 10 minutes, then cover and simmer 10 more minutes. Remove rabbit and dumplings to large serving platter.
Stir the flour into the milk until smooth. Gradually stir this into the hot remaining chicken broth until smooth. Season with salt and pepper if necessary (if you use the leftover flour from dredging, you will not need much extra seasoning). Heat to a gentle boil until it thickens.
7Pour gravy over and around the rabbit and dumplings to serve.