Can anyone tell me, if braised rabbit suppose to be tender or tough?
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I had post this question earlier but didn't have the proper Etiquette to post here so it was kindly deleted. I ate at a very good restaurant last night and ordered a Braised Rabbit, which was very tough. I did speak with the GM there but his response was let me ask the Chef and when he came back, he really didn't have a proper explaination and simply stated that I was the first one to order that meal that evening. This is being it was a special for the evening.
Thanks in advance,
Rabbit should be tender through and through. Think of a velvety chicken texture. Anything other than this is badly prepared. If it was very tough the chef should have offered to replace it with another dish and go back to the kitchen and either figure out whether he goofed (and remove it from the menu) or you were given a "bad" piece.
Rabbit, cut properly and braised properly, will be tender when cooked. The texture is very similiar to a softly braised chicken thigh. Personally, I prefer only the legs braised and feel that the loin should be boned and seared but many people braise the whole thing. Rabbit is very lean and as such, does need a very long braising time compared to other meats. The loin is even leaner and in my opinion, is never a great texture when braised.
If it was tough it was probably cooked at too high a heat or at too high a temperature.
The raison d'être of the braising technique (which involves slow-cooking at temparatures well below what one would use for roasting) is to render tough cuts of meat tender and to draw their abundance of flavour. Rabbit is hardly a tough little beast, so if it was braised it should literally have been falling apart. Sounds to me like the chef at your restaurant may need to go back to school.
Rabbit, in general, is closer to tender than tough, and anything braised correctly is by definition "fork tender" to "falling off the bone" tender.
I suspect your dish may have come out of the kitchen before it was done braising- they may not have left themselves enough time for prep. How tough was it? I imagine it may have been a 10-15 chew mouthful up from 5-10, but if the flavors were fully infused and you didn't risk our dental work, I would leave a comment for the manager (to pass onto the kitchen).