When it comes to ingredients, I like them fresh and ready to use. For a while now I’ve been wanting to cook rabbit, and after tasting Birch & Barley‘s rabbit gnocchi, I knew it was time I tried to cook the hoppy little guy.
Finding rabbit isn’t easy. It’s not just something you can pick up at Safeway or Whole Foods. Instead, I turned to one of DC’s many weekday farmers’ markets. I took a late lunch one Thursday afternoon and headed out to the White House Farmers Market where I found Garden Path Farm and their one “rabbit” left.
This is where it gets interesting.
At a little over 2 pounds, I assumed the vacuum-packed rabbit was meat, just meat, and I could cube and make a tasty Bunny Bourguignon. How was I wrong!
Continue reading to see what happened, but be warned, the following photos are not for the squeamish.
As I pulled out the rabbit from the fridge I paused. I could feel bone, not just any bone, but a body. The rabbit was whole, carcass, whole. Mortified.
That’s right folks, that right there was what I had to cook with. I was frantically searching online for instructions on how to go about cutting this up. My savior came in the form of Hank Shaw’s Hunter Angler Gardner Cook website and his how-to guide about cutting up a rabbit. Hank, I owe you a cocktail.
It took me about an hour to get the rabbit to that third picture above, which doesn’t even include the 15 minutes it took to get over the shock of having to cut it up. And my very meat eating boyfriend, well, he had to leave the room.
I didn’t get as much meat from the rabbit as I had hoped but I did get enough to make the dish I had intended: bourguignon. I didn’t play with the recipe, per my usual attempts in the kitchen because, frankly, I felt I had already done enough by tackling a whole rabbit. Instead, I used a simple recipe from Antony Worrall Thompson.
If you’ve never had rabbit before, you need not be afraid. The meat is a little tougher than chicken, but not like typical red meat (which when tender can sometimes be a little stringy). I marinated the rabbit meat in the bourguignon sauce for a while so it was a little sweeter than I suspect it would be otherwise, but not in a bad way.
Anyway, be brave out there. And as Elma Fudd would say, “Kill the Wabbit.”
It looks like a fantastic dish. I want to congratulate you on taking a step where not many chefs today go – butchering your own meat. Nothing gets you more affinity for a dish than when you are hands on in the creation of it. It is way too simple to have a ready butchered package to stet your meal off. Kudos to you – and I suspect that perhaps the next time you may want to have a go at it… Asyou are a bit more of an expert now!
Bravo. Love this post. I have a cousin who is a hunter looking for some ideas for rabbits he got recently…. I will definitely be passing this along
It was tasty but tasted a little like kids’ dreams
I’m still having nightmares about that carcass being butchered on my kitchen counter!
a-freaking-mazing. good on you for not just freaking out and tossing the whole thing in the freezer. very impressed that you made this work.
FYI, Bob at Groff’s Content Farm (http://www.groffscontentfarm.com/) at the mt p far mar usually has rabbits too (although I think you would have encountered the same problem).
I’ll take a Campari on ice for that cocktail! Glad you managed to joint the bunny – do it a few dozen times and it will only take you about 5 minutes. Practice makes perfect… It should have served 2 people very well; wild cottontails are more of a single-serving rabbit, while domestics can almost serve 3 people.
Borracho, I have plenty of wild rabbit recipes if your cousin needs some.
I’m totally going to try this at home. I make boeuf bourguignon all the time, so this will be an interesting twist on an old French favorite. La mort du lapin!
i sympathize with you… the first time i had to make cat food from a whole chicken… including chopping and grinding the bones themselves… let’s just say it took a year or two for the gross factor to wear off. cracking their little bones really gives you a new perspective (not that i eat meat, but… it’s still gross to flay the carcass). i like to gross out my meat eating friends!
Good for you to tackle the butchering of the bunny (trying not to look at that cute face in the first photo). I’ll bet the resulting stew was worth it.
So subversive this time of year! I love it. GREG
Where’s your daddy now you sparkly buggers?!
um, please ignore that last completely incoherent comment-wrong post(that was meant for the peeps post)! ugh, someone take my keyboard from me!