This rabbit recipe uses Wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) specifically. Rabbits are regarded as a pest species in Europe, Australia and New-Zealand causing an estimated loss of 800 million US dollars annually world-wide. The wild rabbits I obtain are either shot or caught by my lurchers as a part of a farm rabbit control program. Always have the landowner’s permission to take rabbits! This wild rabbit recipe includes hunting, preparing and cooking rabbit for the pot. It does make sense economically: It’s free and reduces numbers of this invasive pest. Its meat is also very lean and tasty and you know for sure the animals have led a genuinely free-range life. Cooked meat from wild rabbit beats cellophane wrapped chicken, coming from industrially reared animals that probably had a horrible existence!
I find it a bit strange that a lot of people are put of by “wild” meat or game by the fact that the product is a lot more “recognizable” as an animal. I think that anyone who enjoys meat as part of their dinner should have a better understanding of what is involved in reducing the “whole” animal to the various cuts for cooking.
In this post I’ll briefly show you how I prepare and a “wild” rabbit recipe for the pot. There are probably quicker ways, but this method leaves the pelt intact, in case you want to make a warm winter hat.
Please skip the following if you are squeamish or find butchery imagery (before the actual rabbit recipe section) offensive.
Rabbit butchery: Some points to take into consideration
*Always use a razor sharp knive for skinning, dressing, jointing etc. It makes life so much easier!
* “Field dressing” of a rabbit is generally done by hunters to decrease the carrying weight of the rabbits by removing the intestinal tract just after the animal is caught and humanely dispatched.
*Be careful to remove the anal glands (they will give off a very pungent odour during cooking), and remove the bladder, the entire gastrointestinal tract (ie guts and contents) also in the pelvic area. Rabbit liver is very tasty, but needs to be fresh and the gall-bladder removed ASAP. Kidneys can be left
*Hanging of whole animals (field dressed: guts removed) for 2-3 days in a cooled fly-free area will tenderize the meat.
*The rabbit recipe: Browning the meat (frying before cooking rabbit) is done to get that ”roasted” meat flavour by creating tasty heat induced Maillard reaction products – not to “seal” in the juices (an old wives tale I’m afraid).