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Mar 10, 2012 04:35 AM

Substitute for rabbit (braised)

Any subs for rabbit? Can't do it as I had one as a pet when I was a kid. Would duck or pork be ok? Worried about the fat though. Thanks

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  1. chicken / lean pork if you are worried about fat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordeaux

      A problem with lean pork is that it doesn't take braising well.

    2. Chicken, especially skinless thighs.

      5 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        +1. A bit more flavor than breasts.

        1. re: nofunlatte

          +2 My very first thought was chicken thighs. They are great in braised dishes. I think pork would actually be pretty lean, unless you are getting a good pork butt with substantial dark meat. Duck would be fatty, IMO.

          1. re: centralpadiner

            duck *meat* is extremely lean - it's the skin that's fatty.

            1. re: sunshine842

              You are right, of course. Trying to think if I've ever had duck meat that was cooked without the skin, and I don't think I have. I still think chicken thighs, which can be quite good in a braised dish without the added fat of the skin are the best option. It helps that they are readily available and inexpensive.

              1. re: centralpadiner

                Chicken is definitely the easiest and most economical -- and I'd take the skin off of those, too.

      2. Bear in mind that rabbit is an extremely mild meat (even if it's a wild one) and even chicken is going to have more taste - you may have to adjust the other ingredients.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Harters

          Can you give an example of how you would adjust the ingredients?

          1. re: paulj

            Not without knowing what the ingredients were.

            1. re: Harters

              I was kind of hoping that you would pick a favorite recipe of yours, and step us through the process of adjusting it. It's not obvious to me how, or why, a recipe using chicken should differ from one using rabbit.

              As an example, there's a Spanish dish called andrajos that usually calls for rabbit, but I make it with chicken. It has the usual Spanish suspects - garlic, bell pepper, tomato. The use of mint is distinctive, though I don't always have that on hand. And it is finished with dough strips (or broken paparadelle does nice).

              1. re: paulj

                Generally speaking, because rabbit is such a mild meat, I would be more restrained with flavourings and seasonings than I would with a chicken dish. Without adjustment, those flavourings would be making a less than expected contribution to a chicken substitute version.

        2. Thanks for the suggestions-I was thinking duck leg/thigh but was worried about the amount of fat from the skin, and was also thinking about a boston pork butt as well. It appears my best bet will be chicken thighs.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Cat59

            so take the skin off of the duck - rabbit is skinless, so it's probably better to skin it, anyway.

            1. re: Cat59

              Duck and pork butt are a lot more flavorful and fatty than rabbit. Rabbit tastes rather like a combination of chicken and mild fish to me, so I think you're on the right track with the chicken thighs. Perhaps a couple drops of fish sauce might be even closer to the real thing.

              1. re: JungMann

                Not all duck tastes of fish -- the magret (usually Muscovy ducks) are a dark red, and definitely have a "ducky" flavor -- but no fish.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  I was talking about rabbit with respect to the fishy flavor. I think some wild duck can have a bit of that funky taste, but not quite to the same extent since the ducky flavor is so prevalent.

            2. I'll be stick in the mud here. I'm not a big fan of substituting one meat for another if a dish calls for a particular meat. I realize that in this case, there doesn't appear to be a specific rabbit recipe, but instead you appear to want to braise a mild meat. If that's the case, then yes, chicken, rabbit, pheasant, quail, partridge, pigeon, and others would be great choices. Some are a bit "stronger" flavored than others, but in general, they are in the same general range. But they are not substitutes for each other - they all have they're individual flavors, and while there may be subtle differences, there are differences nonetheless.

              I cringe every time I see folks say that chicken is substitute for rabbit. In a sense it is, in the same sense that pork and turkey are a substitute for beef when making burgers. But rabbit has it's own flavor, and so a dish that calls for rabbit but that's made with chicken will be different. Chicken a la moutarde will be a very different dish than rabbit a la moutarde, which is a classic dish.

              OK, done being the stick in the mud.

              You'll have much better luck braising chicken than duck or pork, and the flavors will be closer to the same dish made with rabbit.

              3 Replies
              1. re: foreverhungry

                Honestly I don't see that there is much of a difference. Rabbit to me has the chewiness of dark meat chicken, with the flavor and color of white meat chicken, so substituting chicken leg/thigh seems ok to me. I've only eaten farmed rabbit so hunted wild animals may be a different story.

                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                  No, I don't think there's much of a difference, but there is a difference. I liken it as using different species of salmonids. To many folks, salmon is salmon. But to some (me included), there's a difference between the species. So an extent, can one substitute farmed Atlantic, Copper River sockeye, and Steelhead? Well, sure - they all have the same general profiles, and they all generally cook in the same way (meaning a method you use on one you can use on another). But to another extent, they are different. They each have different flavors you can coax out using slightly different recipes (maybe with the exception of the farmed stuff). So can you use one of another? Well, yeah. But are they pure substitutes, in the sense that a substitute offers no differences at all from the original? I'd say no to that.

                  It's a gray area that some folks might not care about. And to be honest, I might not even be able to taste the difference in some cases, but the idea of knowing it's the particular meat called for adds a certain something that enhances the meal, so maybe it's just all in my head.

                2. re: foreverhungry

                  I don't think the idea was to duplicate the flavor so much as make use of another type of meat that would respond to the same recipe's cooking techniques equally well. A similarity in flavor would be all that was required for the substitute. Most of us are aware that meats don't all taste the same, yet we've all heard that "tastes like chicken" comment frequently. So, the similarities are there. Pheasant, quail or guinea hen would probably supply a bit more game-y flavor, but heck - I've used pork in chicken recipes (that weren't bone-in) and had good results. So, anything with similar body parts (shape, size and construction) with similar flavoring would probably respond well to the cooking methods in a rabbit recipe. I only found this discussion because I was also looking to see what might work in a hasenpfeffer recipe. I love German cooking, but am not a fan of rabbit - nor can I afford to buy any at the moment. So, a darker meat fowl should work well.