Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Rabbit - A to Z Challenge

RabbitRabbit used to be eaten a lot in England, don’t know about today, but I can certainly remember my mother cooking rabbit quite often. During the war years (WWII) Matt’s family used to keep rabbits to supplement their diet, other families did the same as meat was severely rationed along with everything else. We once came across rabbit in a restaurant nearby, but that was a while back. Matt ordered it and said it was the best rabbit he’d ever tasted. Just remembered another time going to a friend’s house in England and she had two shot wild rabbits on the kitchen table which had been given to her but she had to get Matt to skin them for her as she didn’t know how. Nor, I might add, did I. She gave us one of them. There are eight genera of rabbits and many different species throughout the world. Australia used to be overrun with rabbits and the illness myxomatosis was introduced to try and reduce the numbers. It was a pretty horrible disease and there was a lot of outcry against it’s introduction. I read that they have gradually become more resistant to the sickness.


Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

By Tiger Duck at Food.com

I came across this delicious rabbit recipe in the French section of a cook book about Mediterranean cooking. As my mother always pairs rabbit with mashed potatoes - which is also highly recommended with this recipe - I doubled the sauce. Who doesn't want extra sauce for the mashed potatoes? This has also the advantage that the dish can easily be reheated. I usually thin sauces with a little bit of water, wine, cream or milk if I reheat them. When I cooked this recipe, I reheated it several times, as it was only me who ate it and it always tasted delicious. You can of course halve the sauce if you are not as partial to sauces as I am. I also changed the recipe found in the book slightly in that I rubbed the pieces of rabbit in mustard before frying them. My mother always does it this way. For me rabbit cooked like in this recipe with plenty of mashed potatoes on the side is pure comfort food. I also recommend to serve some cooked carrots or steamed tomatoes with it. Yummy.
Ingredientsrabbit-dijon2
Servings 4-6  
  • rabbit
  • 1 58 kg rabbit, pieces (with bones, 3lbs 9oz)
  • salt
  • pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons mild mustard
  • olive oil
  • mustard sauce
  • 4 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, thin slices, sliced into 3 cm pieces (1 1/5 inch pieces)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup single cream (if the single cream in your country works well in sauces, otherwise use cream)
  • 3 -4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • thyme (to garnish)
Directions
  1. As indicated in the introduction I have doubled the sauce of the original recipe. You may therefore halve it if you are not as partial to sauce as I am.
  2. Preheat oven 180°C / 355°F / gas 2.
  3. Remove any visible fat from the rabbit meat. Rinse rabbit meat under cold water and drain well with kitchen paper.
  4. Brush pieces with mustard, but do not use too much of it, as it otherwise will burn during the frying process. Generously salt and pepper the meat.
  5. Fry the meat pieces in portions in hot olive oil in an oven-safe pot until they have a nice colour. Use more oil if necessary. Put browned meat aside.
  6. Fry onions and bacon in the pot you fried the rabbit for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with flour and stir. Add wine and stock and bring to a boil while you keep stirring. Add meat and thyme leaves.
  7. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 75-90 minutes or until tender. Remove pot from oven and put on stove. Add cream and 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Mix and check if you want to add another tablespoon. Season to taste. Cook for a few minutes on the stove until the sauce is creamy.
  8. Serve on individual plates with mashed potatoes and vegetable of your choice. Garnish meat with thyme sprigs or thyme leaves.

Have a great day

Jo_thumb[2]

43 comments:

  1. I feel so deprived... I've never had rabbit... I need to go out in the woods behind my house and get one.

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    1. It really is good eating Dixie.

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  2. I didn't know rabbit goes well with mustard. Should try this out!

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  3. Hi Jo - myxomatosis was really nasty I remember it when I was growing up in the 50s - and rabbits gave families 'free food' during the War. I love rabbit and it makes a really good stew .. I was told the trick was to cook it twice ... i.e. on re-heat it was really good - I did that and it was very good. This rabbit in mustard sauce looks very tasty .. cheers Hilary

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    1. It was pretty terrible. Rabbits are delicious but I haven't eaten one in many years.

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  4. During the war and afterwards we always had a dog at home that kept us supplied with rabbits for food. We still have rabbit occasionally now from a local butcher,

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    1. Lucky the dog didn't damage them or eat them himself.

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  5. My parents kept rabbits when I was a child and we ate them often. (No, they don't taste like chicken, Mom). We also had a poultry market in the next block where you could purchase them. Now, I'd probably have to go to the market in the city to buy one. I've enjoyed them in NYC and Prague, but don't think I've ever seen them on a menu around here, ever.

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    1. I remember seeing them once in the market but not in the local grocery stores. I don't go to the market very much though.

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  6. It's been a while since I had rabbit. Not a common dish.

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  7. I don't think I would try it. I know I wouldn't. My husband has hunted rabbits before, he enjoyed it with his beagles. I have a friend out west that has a small farm and she raises rabbits for meat to sell at the local farmer's market.

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    1. I must say I prefer farm raised rabbits to wild ones.

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  8. Poor little rabbit. Never tried it and never would. The only thing I tried, years ago, was venison and didn't like that much. Do you have any meat-free recipes. ;)

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    1. I do, but not in this Challenge. I often publish vegan or vegetarian recipes. On second thoughts I think both Y and U are non meat recipes.

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  9. I ate rabbit a few times. One of my friends is a gourmet Chef and he will sneak in a rabbit meal every now and then during one of his holiday gatherings. It is delicious.

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    1. I certainly think so, I must look around and see if I can get one. I have never actually cooked one myself but have eaten it many times in the past.

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  10. Rabbit is also a mild tasting and very lean meat and like chicken breast, will dry out quickly. Olive oil works well with it as does butter and bacon drippings. Dan's family had a wine/butter glaze styled recipe. I've cooked it many ways and it is tasty but usually use bacon somewhere in the recipe. It also works well in crock pot--especially wild rabbit because the back legs can get rather tough. Not so much a problem with donestic raised rabbits.

    This recipe sounds great. I have several rabbits in the freezer. I'm going to try it. Dan will love the mustard based sauce!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. As I said above Sia, I have never actually cooked one myself. The last one we had, Matt cooked in a mustard sauce as above. I guess if I can find rabbits around here they will be domestic.

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  11. I used to see Rabbit in the market, but not anymore. I know that going to a special meat market would yield some rabbit meat. Not as popular here in the US because of the Peter Rabbit image. I have cooked it and I do like it.

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    1. Peter Rabbit is also in England after all Beatrix Potter was English but we still eat it. Watership Down wouldn't help I guess. Mind you after Babe I stopped eating pork but it didn't last long.

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  12. I'm a vegetarian now but in my youth I had a rabbit farm and my main clients bought them for food. That was in the country and a long time ago. Now I live in Chicago and in many of the chic restaurants featuring farm-to-table rabbit is again in vogue. I do think its important to diversify food sources and not eat so much of one thing like chicken.

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    1. I agree with your last comment about diversifying. We try to do that all the time. Interesting that the chic restaurants are serving rabbit. The one we went to here, years ago, was very up market, very expensive too I might add.

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  13. My husband's grandmother used to raise rabbits for food. It seems sad to eat something so cute and friendly, but they do reproduce, well, like rabbits so for hard times, they are a way to survive.

    Personally, I've never had rabbit.

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    1. Well I guess they would breed like rabbits Liz! They are really delicious if cooked properly.

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  14. I've never eaten rabbit but if your stuck for food its always handy to keep your options open. I'll have to try this one out sometime.

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    1. It really is a good food. During WWII a lot of English people survived on rabbits.

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  15. Back when I still ate meat, I had rabbit almost once a month. My cousins raised them for food and pelts. They had over 100 at one point. I never killed one, but my cousin did teach me how to skin and clean a rabbit.

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    1. I have never learned how to skin and prepare one. Guess I was spoilt,, could just go to the butcher.

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  16. I know my mom, growing up in Germany, had rabbits. They named them though which i think is sick actually:) They would name them and then eat them. My mom thought that was perfectly normal. I had rabbit when I was a kid but don't remember the taste at all

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    1. I don't think it's sick, but unusual certainly.

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  17. My grandpa (Louisiana) used to kill and eat a lot of rabbit. I never could (knowingly) eat it without thinking of Thumper. Cliche, I know.

    Scribbles From Jenn - Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

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    1. I don't ever remember having a problem with Thumper or Peter Rabbit. Although I must admit I was put off a bit by Babe. Didn't last long though.

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  18. My gramma used to make rabbit stew. But I wouldn't eat it back then. I love those furry bunnies...

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    1. They can grow into a big nuisance in fact. That's why the Australians introduced myxomatosis. Rabbit stew is delicious.

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  19. I had rabbit once in France but never here although I know it was used.
    Great theme Jo.
    Have a good week
    Fil @ Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

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    1. Surprised you've never had it at home.

      Thanks, hope you have a great week too.

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  20. I just keep thinking about the pet bunny scene in Fatal Attraction. I'm sure I tried it years ago, but it probably wasn't as tasty as your recipe.

    Julie

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    1. I don't remember that scene although I did see the film. Rabbit is still good to eat.

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  21. With rabbits becoming resistant to myxomatosis they are trying a new approach here in Australia by infecting rabbit populations with the calicivirus. Quite a nasty bug but quicker and therefore less cruel but just as deadly. Sad that we have to resort to it but otherwise the rabbits would multiply to extremely destructive numbers again. Another of those foolish introductions of an exotic species with very few predators here.

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    1. Maybe more of you Aussies should start eating them and then they might not be such a problem LOL. I am surprised the dingos don't keep them down.

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  22. This recipe looks delicious Jo - I've generally only eaten it in tomato based sauces. - I am one of the people that was upset about the introduction of Myxomatosis in Australia (and other diseases since then too) I really don't understand why an animal that is so naturally abundant isn't eaten more.

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    1. It is Ida. You are so right, the Australians have such an abundance of rabbits and I bet they don't eat them very often.

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