How do you feel about rabbit? I know a lot of people don’t like the thought of eating it, unable to get the thought of cute furry little animals out of their heads. I guess the fact that many people keep rabbits as pets makes it hard to think of them as food. I’ve never eating it myself (before tonight, that is), simply never having been presented with cooked rabbit and never feeling the desire to cook one myself. But now that I have a greater interest in food and game is becoming more popular, with TV chefs bringing it to our screens, rabbit is something that has been intriguing me. And anyway I really didn’t think I could consider myself a proper foodie until I’d tried it!
Perhaps a few years back I, too, would have been unable to face the thought of eating rabbit. But now I’m a little older and have thought about it more I have to consider why it’s any different from eating a duck, a lamb or a cow. I guess at the end of the day it comes down to what you know and are used to. If you grew up on a farm or in the depths of the country and regularly ate rabbit growing up then I doubt you would see what all the fuss is about.
So with all this in mind when I went to the butchers the other day and saw that he had skinned and prepared rabbits I decided there and then that it was about time I tried one. So the butcher chopped one up for me and I brought it home, feeling rather brave and proud of myself. Then I got it home and I did start to feel a little funny about it. I’ve never had a rabbit in my fridge and the last time I was close to one I was stroking my friend’s house rabbit. Oh dear, there’s that image of the cute furry little animal again.
With that thought pushed out of my mind I started cooking and was actually taken a back by just how good it smelt. It put me in mind of Christmas, with the turkey cooking and making giblet gravy.
When I tasted the liquid in the stew I really was quite blown away. This was good, really good. Time to try the meat. The texture is like chicken but the taste is deeper, gamier, as you’d expect. It really is very nice. If you haven’t already, give it a go – you may be pleasantly surprised.
Brown a jointed rabbit in olive oil. Remove from the pan and add 4 rashes of roughly chopped smoked bacon. Sauté until golden then add about 6 shallots (halved if they are large) and two crushed garlic cloves. Sauté for a few minutes more then deglaze the pan with a large glass of white wine. Add 1 litre of chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer on the hob on a very low heat for about 2 hours until the rabbit is tender and falling off the bone. Season to taste at the end of the cooking time.