In regard to public acceptance, rabbit meat has disappeared down a bit of an intergenerational rabbit hole; once widely appreciated, these days it tends to be spurned by a lot of older baby boomers who equate it with growing up poor and having little else while most younger folks are just completely unfamiliar with its inoffensive versatility. A single bunny costs $20-30 each in the supermarkets here (when it's available at all) which is just fucking ridiculous and hardly encourages converts.
So don't feel bad if you've never had the pleasure. And don't worry that your more conservative associates will turn their nose up at its gamey exoticism. As far as flavour and texture are concerned, even wild rabbit is virtually indistinguishable from a mature free-range chicken; look at the fresh cuts below and ask yourself how many neurotic neophobes would be able to spot the anatomical differences. Lol. Just lie and they'll love every freaking bite.
The usual free-range culinary caveats apply- slow cooking is best, and one-pot recipes do it all the favours. The one I've used here is a version of my universal free-range/game tomato summer casserole with ingredients easily culled from the garden or purchased cheaply in season. Stuck in winter? Just replace the zucs with canned red or white beans, celeriac, carrots and spuds and serve with some steamed brassicas.
This dish is nutritious, relatively economical, ethical, paleo-adjacent and virtually free of sloppy carbs.
These measures and ingredients are meant as a rough guide; don't fret if you're short or overflowing. Being of course skinless, rabbit is bland and lean and tends toward dryness so I pump up the fatty/savoury factor with a few spicy sausages, but you could use a good dry bacon if you're short on meat. You can throw in wine or stock if you have it lying around. We try to limit our refined starch intake (because that shit works) and use boiled potatoes as a foil here; quinoa, pasta, couscous and brown rice are perfect too.
- 2-3 small dry smoky sausages ie. chorizo
- 1 400g tin of tomatoes
- 1 small tin or two tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons of plain flour
- A massive handful of green herbs (I used bay, thyme & oregano but whatever you prefer)
- Big teaspoon of cracked black pepper
- 1 head of garlic, chopped
- 2 large zuccini or squash +/or 1 medium eggplant
- 2 really big handfuls of diced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon of quince jelly or relish (optional)
- 1 big chopped onion
- butter and oil for frying
Pat your meat dry with a paper towel; combine flour, paprika and pepper > and use this to dredge or coat the raw rabbit. Shake off the excess flour mix and fry these pieces in a pan in a mix of butter and oil with a bit of garlic and bay; you just want to brown them as per below.
< This is about 700g of rabbit which is about 1medium-large dressed beast. Leave roughly jointed or cut into smaller portions. Put the oven on to around 200 ºC. Get all your vegetables, garlic, sausage and herbs chopped as per above image, open your tins and then set them all aside somewhere out of the way.
Commit the casserole to the oven for anything from 1-2 hours, depending on the volume and liquid content of your final assembly; just keep checking and stirring. I turn it down to 150ºC halfway through if I'm not in a hurry, but today this one took 80 mins @ 200 ºC
You want to reduce it to a syrupy, concentrated deliciousness, transforming it from the bountiful promise below left, to the glistening spectacle below right.
This casserole provides a stream of delicious leftovers; just keep in mind that wild rabbit can toughen if reheated too briskly and removing the meat from the bone for your second round is probably optimal (if you're fussy about that sort of thing.) The mix can be used in a pie or pastie-type situation, tossed through some stir-fried green vegtables (I like a kale and broccoli mix) or piled on toast with hunks of cheese grilled over the top. I've used parmesan over this lot >
Though it may seem counterintuitive, eating these kinds of meals has helped me lose a shit-tonne of weight and get fitter and stronger than I thought possible. I've detailed the theory and practice here if you're interested; I'll post more about the continuing process soon.