I was 18 years old when I first tried rabbit. It was my 18th birthday and my mother took me to a nice restaurant, told me I could order whatever I wanted, and then was promptly horrified when I ordered rabbit. “You’re eating Peter cottontail!” she implored, to which I replied “Peter tastes good!” Ever since then, I have had a warm spot in my heart (and a bit of a craving in my stomach) for rabbit, though I did not start trying to cook it myself for quite some time.
Luckily I can buy rabbit at my local market. I’ve found it in many places I’ve lived, from California to Calgary, but it’s usually sold whole and frozen. This means I’ve had to learn how to cut it up myself. And of course that meant I needed the proper tools: good boning shears, a sharp fillet or boning knife, and a nice meat cleaver. I use a website called Hunter Angler Gardener Cook as a resource, which has step-by-step instructions for how to cut up rabbits and also has many recipes. The website is a great resource for wild game, fishes and foraging for wild greens.
Tonight I prepared German Rabbit Stew, recipe courtesy of HAGC. Generally I sauté rabbit and prepare a nice mustard and vegetable sauce. This time I really wanted to make a stew, and was glad to find a few recipes for it. This dish was fabulous! Like most stews, you brown the meat first, and then slow cook the stew long enough so that the rabbit meat falls off the bone. Because you wouldn’t debone rabbit before cooking – there are too many bones and the bone adds flavor during cooking – I take an extra step and fish the rabbit bones out of the stew when done, pull the meat off the bone, then return the meat to the stew. And voila, rabbit stew!
In case you’re wondering, rabbit does not taste like game, it has a mild flavor just like chicken. And it’s lean, you don’t see much extra fat on rabbits and buying rabbit from the market also means there is no skin to deal with. A single rabbit can provide a good amount of meat, obviously depending on the size of the rabbit. The rabbit I stewed was 3 lbs and yielded 3 meals each for me and my boyfriend D, who has a pretty hearty appetite. This stew could be served alone, over mashed or roasted potatoes, or for this meal, I toasted a slice of good French bread under the broiler, then poured the stew over top, letting the stew soak into the bread. Wow, what treat!
I’d urge anyone feeling somewhat adventurous to try rabbit. It’s easy to cook and delicious – it’s the other other white meat!