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.”