We have friends who raise rabbits. Cute, sweet little furry guys which they then eat as soon as they get to butchering size. I’d never eaten rabbit before, but in the spirit of learning what I like and don’t like, and trying something new, we took a couple of rabbits home with us to cook. I’d love to some day have a sweet urban homestead of our own and raise meat animals, so rabbit could be an option.
I brought two rabbits home and put them in the freezer. Then I forgot about them. I was honestly kind of nervous to cook them. My husband was a little nervous to eat them too. It didn’t help that my aunt said she hates rabbit and it was going to stink up her house. So we waited until my aunt was out of town and told my uncle we were going to come over one evening and bring dinner; rabbit.
I didn’t have any recipes, so the night before I started frantically looking and realized that this cookbook I got from IKEA had a couple of rabbit recipes in it. I settled on rabbit in cream sauce and decided to make pasta with alfredo sauce as a side; if everyone hated my rabbit, at least we wouldn’t starve. That night I dreamed about cooking dinner and the whole house smelled bad; I was a little nervous.
This sounded great and all, but the reality was, I was trying to cook a meal with 5 pans involved, 4 starving children, 3 ingredients that had to be substituted, 2 gnarly mishaps, and 1 waiting uncle, which meant I had a deadline, and a partridge in a pear tree (you know you were thinking it!)
I sent my husband to the store to buy tarragon, which our store doesn’t sell. Thanks to Google, I found that parsley can be used as a substitute. I also don’t have access to creme fraiche, so I used cream, and I didn’t have dijon mustard but I did have mustard sprouting seeds so I figured I could use them paired with some regular yellow mustard. When I went on Ask.com, it said I needed to fry the seeds before I cooked with them. I got my pan super hot with oil in it, tossed in my seeds and they proceeded to start popping out of the pan onto my arms, coated in burning oil. I don’t think I will ever try that one again. However, in the end, they worked out great in my recipe.
Then, there were these two rabbits. They were supposed to be quartered, so I got out my meat cutting board and my biggest knife. Then I stared at this rabbit for the longest. I couldn’t figure out how to cut it for the life of me. Leave the spine in? Cut it out entirely? Leave the darn thing whole and forget about it? I tried cutting it straight down the middle, and found out that my best knife wouldn’t make it through. I pressed harder and I heard a few ribs snap but still couldn’t manage it. So, I did what any rational person would do, and I whacked the backside of the knife with my hand as hard as I could, wishing I owned a meat cleaver and trying to not sweat on my food because it was that much work over a hot stove already. Following my good, solid smack, I heard a loud crack and realized I broke my cutting board into about four pieces. Super.
I had my six year old make the coating for the rabbit, and I clearly didn’t learn from my past mistakes because this is the extra garlic powder I scooped off the top of the bowl that was supposed to contain “a couple of shakes”. Apparently that means something different to my kids than it does to me.
I fried the rabbit up, then added a sauce to it for it to braise in. I made my cream sauce, cooked my noodles, fried up some zucchini, and called my uncle twice to tell him that we were still coming but we were obviously late. I told my kids probably ten times that dinner was almost done and I couldn’t get them a snack, and we finally made it over to my uncle’s house to eat dinner. Lesson: if you’re preparing a meal that requires five pans, guests come to you. If you want to bring dinner somewhere, make it a one pot ordeal.
All told, it looked like this:
Not too shabby! It didn’t smell bad when I cooked it, and it was actually good. A little different than other meats I’ve had, but good. And I’m buying a meat cleaver for next time, and a new cutting board. Have you eaten rabbit? Did you like it? I’d love to hear input below in the comments.