Braised Rabbit; Why would I want the ‘whole’ rabbit?

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.

Rabbit

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:

Rabbit head

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.

Braised Rabbit in Red Wine

If you’ve never had rabbit – the meat is dark, like chicken thighs, and very moist and tender.

And delicious.

Braised Rabbit

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.

Braised Rabbit Leg


BTW, recently whole rabbits, fur and all, have been on display in the local supermarkets.

Still…. Not for me.

8 thoughts on “Braised Rabbit; Why would I want the ‘whole’ rabbit?”

  1. Love, love rabbit. Always eat it when available on the menu in Europe. No, I would not have liked to find the rabbit head under the legs. That would have really turned me off. It is not readily available, if at all, in USA. I will wait until next spring when we go back to France to eat more rabbit. Actually, grew up with eating wild rabbit that my brother killed on his hunts. I think I could cut one up, remembering how my mother did it. The innards, including head, were always tossed.

  2. should I be glad at least the ears not there…
    remind me of my very first day in barcelona. I went to local market wanting to buy chickens… the bodies were all cleaned but their heads always ‘unshaved’ (not my kind of chicken either)…

  3. oh dear 😎 I try and be realistic and informed about where my meat comes from but that would have been a little hard to deal with. Especially as an unexpected surprise.

  4. Love rabbit! Heck I always wanted to grow them just for consumption. However, there is that whole I would have to kill it, gut, it and carve it gets me. Dang feelings!

  5. Rabbit is delicious. I grew up in an spanish household and we ate a lot. Although my pet rabbits kept dissapearing from time to time … hmmmmm

  6. Susan, my brother hunted, too. But I have no memory of them being cleaned… nor the squirrels. It must have been magic.
    Cindy, I thought it was mean to hide it.
    Zoomie. exactly!
    Gattina, heads and feet – don’t need either!
    Donna, the glass of wine helped…. but not much!
    Jeff, yeah, that bit… Although I’m told that the skin comes off easily (don’t want to know that)
    Anne, I had a pet rabbit once…. then I had new fur-lined mittens…. Hmmmmm

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