In my experience rabbit is usually hatcheted into quarters and saddle, as described (and lamented) in this post.
One year Lisa and I were in Piedmont in northwestern Italy in September, and it seemed that every restaurant was serving rabbit, and all of them had boned-out the entire animal, then rolled it into a cylinder and braised it, usually in Nebbiolo wine. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful way to prepare the animal. At first it didn’t make sense to me: I was hung up on theoretics, asking ridiculous questions like, “Won’t the tiny, slender loin get over-cooked before he belly tenderizes?” This might be true of pork, but I can tell you from empirical study that it is not an … Continue reading.
I live in McKernan, a neighbourhood in south Edmonton. Our most common fauna are magpies, sparrows, squirrels, and jackrabbits. There are jackrabbits everywhere.
Specifically, these are white-tailed jackrabbits, which aren’t rabbits at all, but hares. Hares are larger than rabbits. They have longer hind legs, and longer ears with black markings. Hares live above ground, while rabbits make burrows beneath. Hares change colour with the seasons; rabbits don’t. Male hares are called jacks, females jills, and babies leverets.
One last charming tidbit on jackrabbits: they are named because their long ears reminded someone of a jackass.
I learned all of that from this National Geographic post.
As far as I can tell, jackrabbits love neighbourhoods like McKernan and Garneau. … Continue reading.
This is one of my favourite rabbit recipes, and I think a great way to kick off Easter dinner. This is essentially a rabbit confit, made into a rillette. First I break up my rabbit. Then I take all the meaty bits and marinate them for twenty four hours in the following, adapted from Ruhlman’s Charcuterie. Rub every kilo of rabbit with:
- 20 g kosher salt
- 1 star anise
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 green onion, minced
- 5 g crushed fresh ginger
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 2 crushed black peppercorns
After a day the meat is rinsed and patted dry, then covered with lard and gently cooked in a 180°F oven overnight. The cooked meat is cooled slightly and pulled … Continue reading.
‘Now, my dears,’ said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, ‘you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.’
-from The Tale of Peter Rabbit
After stewing the choice legs and loins of a Trowlesworthy Farms rabbit, I found myself with a lot of trim. Most notable were the forelegs, the belly-flaps from the saddle, and the kidneys. Besides this there was miscellaneous trim pulled from the carcass. I decided that this would become a rabbit pie.
Making the Recipe
A classical rabbit pie (and yes, rabbit pie is a classical preparation…), would use lean rabbit meat and … Continue reading.
As I mention on the Button Soup rabbit page, my first taste of rabbit was in Greece. Rabbit plays a fairly important role in traditional Greek cooking. A stew called stifadho, which is practically the national dish of Hellas, was until recently most often made with rabbit and pearl onions. Rabbit meat appears in several other dishes, often paired with fruit, especially dried currants and prunes.
One of our favourite restaurants in Greece was Portes, in Hania, Crete. “Portes” means “doors”, and the stone walk approaching the taverna is lined with brightly painted wooden doors, leaning against an adjacent fence. After our meal, the bill came with a recipe for rabbit stew with prunes printed on a souvenir bookmark. … Continue reading.
…a “break” from tradition…
Rabbits are not traditionally butchered by neatly separating the joints, as you would a chicken. They are broken into forequarters (shoulder-foreleg), hindquarters (hip-hindleg), and a saddle (backbone, with surrounding loins, tenderloins, and belly) by cleaving right through the bones. In a rustic preparation, all these parts, with bones, would be thrown into a stew.
Chefs often bitch about the tedium of cutting rabbit, “especially since there’s practically no meat on them.” Their words. Not mine.
The problem with cleaving is that you’re bound to splinter the bones. I’ve bitten down on a fragment of rabbit bone in restaurants more than once. Taking the time to properly butcher the rabbit by cutting through the joints and not … Continue reading.