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April 29, 2024

Falscher Hase (Faux Rabbit) - also Known as Meatloaf

In a previous post, I shared with you that growing up in Germany, I would spend each fall school vacation in Berlin with my Grandfather.  Grandpa always had a positive outlook and a wonderful sense of humor. 

He had asked me if I had ever had the pleasure to eat rabbit.  My eyes opened wide.  “No, I had not!” With a twinkle in his eye and while moving his nose up and down like a bunny, he then proceeded to recite this funny little poem to me to watch my reaction and make me laugh. 

Hasenbraten ist ein feines Essen.
Ich selbst habe aber noch keinen gegessen.
Aber meines Vater's Bruder's Sohn,
der hat 'nen Freud gehabt,
und dessen Freund sein Freund,
der hat dabei gesessen
und hat von weiten sehen 'nen Hasenbraten essen.

The poem translates like this:

Roasted rabbit is a fine meal
But I myself haven't eaten one yet.
However my father's brother's son
he had a friend
whose friend had a friend,
who sat there
while from afar saw someone eat a roasted hare.

Knowing that my parents had told him that I was a really finicky eater, he quizzed me: “So, you never had rabbit for dinner?”  I had a sad look on my face, “No, grandpa, bunnies are too cute to eat.” - - “But, Dear, they always make funny faces at you”, he said while rapidly moving his nose up and down in succession.  “In that case, why don’t I prepare Falscher Hase (Faux Rabbit) for you?”  It turns out, that this is the German name for Meatloaf!

Even though I was a really, really finicky eater (read about my spinach adventure here), Grandpa's Falscher Hase was so delicious, that I would always ask for a second portion! 


Falscher Hase – Grandpa’s Meatloaf


1 small onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 c green bell pepper (finely minced)
2 pounds (1kg) ground beef
3/4 c stale white bread or toast, or 1 slice bread, soaked in water until soft, then express (squeeze out) the water, (hint: in the picture below I used bread crusts)
1-2 eggs (slightly beaten)
3/4 t salt
1 t ground pepper
2 t paprika
1 t dry mustard or 2 T prepared mustard
2 T chopped parsley
2-3 potatoes (if new, wash and scrub them, otherwise, peel them), cut in quarters lengthwise
2 to 3 T horseradish
1/2 c tomato juice, 
ketchup or tomato sauce




Start by soaking the bread or in my case the bread rinds in a tall glass filled with water for about 10 minutes, until the bread is really soggy and has absorbed the water. Next, dump out the water and with your hand squeeze out as much water as possible from the bread.  It should feel like soft dough at that point.  


Get a large mixing bowl and add the meat, soaked & squeezed out bread, chopped onion and bell pepper, eggs, paprika, mustard, and pepper.  If you so desire, you can add the optional items at this point.


Mash everything together using a fork to prepare a smooth, but well incorporated, minced dough. During this time, preheat the oven to 200 C or 395 F.

For easy clean-up, line a baking dish or baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Shape the dough into an elongated loaf, place it on the greased baking dish/sheet.  Place the potato quarters around the outside of the loaf, and bake on the lower rack in the oven for 30 minutes.


If available, check the meatloaf temperature with an instant-read thermometer. The minimum safe temperature for ground meat is 165 F / 75 C.  If you substitute ground poultry, the minimum safe temperature is 160 F / 70 C.

When done, take the Falscher Hase (meatloaf) out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.  It will make it easier to slice it at that point.

Serve with a salad or your favorite vegetable on the side.

In case you have leftovers, this freezes really well for another day.  Or, you can always make delicious meatloaf sandwiches for lunch!


Bon Appetit.


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