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Anyone for Rabbit?

so i'm married to an aussie fellow who loves rabbit. we can buy fresh rabbit here for a reasonable price. the rabbit we ate in France was perfect, moist and flavorful. but so far i haven't found the recipe that delivers the proper technique for a juicy, flavorful outcome. i know it's a super lean meat that doesn't have much flavor on it's own. for as much as i've experimented, all of my attempts to make it have turned out dry and tasteless. does any one have reliable technique for a moist and taste-y rabbit?

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  1. I love love love rabbit, and I find that braising it is the most reliable technique. My favorite is Morrocan-style rabbit, with honey and apricots. it's absolutely killer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dagwood

      I agree with braising. I've done rabbit in mustard sauce, but I really enjoy the piquancy of Rabbit Cacciatore. I've had the meat shredded, also, into a lovely cacciatore "risotto," which was quite nice.

    2. sounds great, dagwood. what do you do (specifically)? i'm a little short on info here.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dogthis

        This is technically more of a stew than a braise, but still very very delicious:

        Cut up rabbit into 4-6 pieces. Leave it on the bones though. Brown the rabbit (see carswell's points below, all very good), remove. Add a chopped onion, saute until soft. Add the rabbit back to the pot with some S&P, turmeric, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour. Remove the rabbit from the pot and pull the meat off of the bone, (I usually cut up into about 1/2 to 1 inch pieces). Add back to the pot with diced dried apricots, a fair amount of honey, ground cinnamon, and more turmeric. Simmer uncovered until thickened to stew-like consistency.

        Now I'm getting a craving....this may be on the dinner menu at chez dagwood tonight as well :)

        I serve it over couscous but rice would be great too.

        1. re: dagwood

          sounds like really good option. add a little green salad and it's dinner tonite.

      2. Agree that braising is the safest way to go. Also, when browning rabbit, it's important to do so over low or medium heat. Unlike chicken, it doesn't have skin to protect it or subcutaneous fat to moisten it, so cooking over high heat dries out the meat and makes it stringy. Similarly, it should be braised at the lowest possible simmer and not overcooked. Marinating and braising in an acidic liquid will help tenderize it, and adding fat -- in the form of salt pork, bacon or cream, for example -- will help keep it moist.

        1. Rabbit in sour cream is a very traditional Russian dish and my mom makes it best. From what I remember, she soaks the rabbit in cold water with a little vinegar for an hour or 2. She then coats the pices in flour and sautees them until golden brown (may take a while for rabbit meat). She removes the pieces to a warm plate, and sautees some onions until pale and translucent. You can add a bit of butter at that point and 1 or 2 tbsp of flour and just let the flour get a bit of color. Then add water or chicken stock and let it come to a boil. Salt, pepper (bay leaf, if you like). Return rabbit pieces to the sauce, cover and let it simmer on very low heat (or in a low oven) for about an hour or until meat is tender enough to separate easily from the bone. At the end of cooking add 1/2 to a 1 cup of sour cream and heat through (don't boil). Serve with pasta or potatoes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TatyanaG

            I do something quite similar, with minor variation from TatyanaG's version. At the sautee stage, I add sliced cremini mushrooms, and the *barest* scraping of nutmeg. Dill is also a nice addition to this.

          2. Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 has a wonderful braised rabbit recipe. It's the only one I ever make. Everything else tastes - well - awful.
            I don't have the book in front of me but the rabbit is marinated in red wine and herbs....classic.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              I thought you might have suggested using it in a pasta sauce.

              1. re: yayadave

                I tried once... a Maria Lo Pinto recipe. It tasted like fur. Never again.....

              2. re: Gio

                The recipe for Rabbit Marinated in Vinegar and Herbs and Stewed in Red Wine is in Volume Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.