My nice meat market is featuring whole dressed rabbits for 6 more days for $3.79/lb. Any simple recipes, including braises, and would they require add'l butcher cutting? Thanks.
Rabbit is no more difficult to cut up than chicken but requires some knowledge if you haven't done it before. Zuni Cafe Cookbook has a stellar method and recipes ifyou have it.
Remove legs and braise with a limited amount of liquid. Debone and serve over a soft noodle. Rabbit pairs well with white wine, mustard, soft herbs, light beers and prunes. It is not gamey when farm raised. Think somewhere between chicken and lamb or veal.
if you or your butcher is skilled, bone out the loin and pan sear gently. Lovely stuff. The belly scraps can be cured or added to the braise.
The rabbit sausage in the Zuni book is one of my favorite foods on earth.
i cut them in pieces with kitchen shears. brown and then braise. last time it was in cider, which i later reduced and finished with mustard and cream.
the meat is so very lean, it seems to do best cooking gently in liquid.
i made a patricia wells rabbit pate ONCE. way too much trouble, lol.
farm-raised rabbit is very mild in flavor and they are fastidiously clean eaters. very healthy meat. if they haven't already been frozen buy a few and stock the freezer!
My man hunts rabbit and we keep it in the freezer...I make it several different ways; one is to cut it up (remove leg/thighs and split saddle) then sear it on all sides in a bit of olive oil; add tomatoes, onions, garlic, red wine, chicken stock and simmer until tender.
This can also go into the oven to finish cooking.
Second way is smothered.... season and dredge in flour; brown on all sides in oil..remove from skillet and whisk in flour to make a roux, cooking until brown; add chicken stock, s & p and onions. Add the rabbit parts back into skillet and simmer until tender. Great over mashed potatoes or rice
My man also likes to simmer it on the stovetop in water and dry sausage seasoning until tender. He's old school (lol)...
Lapin a la moutarde is a must!!!!!! It is how I have always cooked rabbit when I am lucky enough to get it. It is a pretty simple braise to do. I used this recipe as a base and added a good bit more heavy cream, more garlic, and also one Turkish Bay leaf. It it ain't a good bay leaf leave it out. Bad bay leaves taste like soap and worsen any dish if you ask me. Oh, and I always remove the rabbit from the pot after braising but before adding the cream to debone all the meat. I don't like having to fish gnawing on bones when I am serving it over something like mashed potatoes. It's an easy and quick extra step to take and makes the dish a lot more pleasant and easy to eat. Also allows the different cuts of the rabbit to be spread out over the dish instead of sticking to one flavor profile from each joint.
It was fantastic served over creamy mashed potatoes, and I've done it over pasta as well and it was very good, but the mashed potatoes are wonderful. Be sure to have some good crusty bread to sop up all that wonderful sauce, and maybe a green veggie on the side to balance all that starch and carbs. :) Definitely an indulgent dish but well worth it.
*********** If you can make sure they give you the offal. I have never had anything better, and I mean anything, than fresh rabbit kidney, heart, and liver. They were absolutely sublime sautéed with butter and onions. I enjoyed it 10 times more than I did the actually rabbit meat, or any other meat I've ever had for that matter. You won't regret it, and even if you don't like stronger flavors like liver you'd probably eat and enjoy this. Very mild but still so much flavor packed into them.