When we first moved to Andorra, in 1997, one could find freshly killed rabbits hanging from hooks, even in the poshest supermarket.
One did have a choice of having it skinned and cut up or taking it home doing the task oneself.
I like rabbit – both as a cuddly pet and on my plate, but I’m not very good with the whole skinning, (or plucking) and butchering bit. (And, yes, I know where my meat comes from.)
I never bought rabbit in Andorra.
Then we moved to France.
There is always whole, skinned rabbit in the butcher’s case, but, again, I passed.
I’m quite certain that, with my lack of skill, I would have, um, butchered the job of cutting it up.
Last week I saw a whole cut-up rabbit, all neatly arranged on a pretty pink styrofoam tray, enclosed in cling film.
My kind of rabbit.
I bought it.
I wasn’t at all surprised to find the kidneys and liver tucked into the package; after all, they are an important part of many rabbit dishes.
I was absolutely stunned to lift up the last leg and find the head.
For 12 years I didn’t buy rabbit because I didn’t want to deal with this….
And here it is:
What the F### am I supposed to do with a rabbit head?
I don’t mind knowing that my food once had a face…. I just prefer not to have it looking at me from the frying pan.
I mean, come on….. Look at those eyes!
Okay, I won’t go there.
Let’s just say….
Rabbit Head – R.I.P.
It was removed from the kitchen…. with all due respect, of course.
Then I braised the rest of it.
If you’ve never had rabbit – the meat is dark, like chicken thighs, and very moist and tender.
1 whole, cut-up rabbit 4 legs and 2 back ‘saddles’, enough for 3 or 4 servings
3 medium leeks
3 cloves garlic
1 bouquet garni
3 bay (laurel) leaves
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 3 tbs water
Heat oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Add the rabbit pieces and brown on both sides, Remove and set aside.
Slice leeks, mince garlic. Add leeks, garlic to pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and stir well, getting up any browned bits on the bottom. Return rabbit to pan, add all remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for an hour.
When done, remove rabbit and cover to keep warm. Remove bay leaves and bouquet garni. Increase heat under sauce and slowly add cornstarch mixture, stirring until thickened and clear. You may not need all of it.
Spoon some sauce over the rabbit and serve.
BTW, recently whole rabbits, fur and all, have been on display in the local supermarkets.
Still…. Not for me.