Among the many offerings from my Amish farm buying club, I’d considered trying the domestic rabbit raised by one of the farmer’s sons, and finally bought one. But it sat in my freezer for quite a while–until today that is. Well, three days ago anyway, when I put it in the fridge to thaw. But it went into the slowcooker today and I had it for dinner tonight.
Crockpot Hunter-Style Rabbit Stew
I looked at number of recipes before settling on this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/rabbit-hunter-s-style-203224?oc=linkback. I’ve copied it below with additional notes of my own. I knew rabbit was quite lean, and so I thought a recipe with added fat, cooked slowly, would viagra online help ensure it would be tender and flavourful. And it is, that! I am not sure I’d pick rabbit over beef or chicken, but it was good, and satisfying, and I’ll enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. And it was fun to try a new meat.
As noted below, I found this link for How to Cut Up a Rabbit useful, and I learned a new term, silver skin. I had dealt with this thin connective tissue on beef before, but didn’t know what it was called. There’s a fair amount on a rabbit, and it’s best to cut it away as much as you can. It shrinks in cooking, pulling at the muscle tissue so your pieces of meat look funny, and becoming unpleasantly chewy to boot. I didn’t have too much trouble getting most of it off. A sharp knife is your best friend. See photo of me removing some of the silver skin below.
Another thing How to Cut Up a Rabbit told me is that rabbit fat has an unpleasant taste. I decided to take the hunter’s word for it, and removed most of the fat that came off easily (although I didn’t make a fetish of getting every last bit off). I was bummed to hear this–can any readers confirm that this is true? (Does wild or domestic rabbit make a difference here?) Rabbit is already lean, so I hated to remove what fat was there, because (usually) fat helps the flavor, and importantly, it provides fat-soluble vitamins that help you assimilate the protein and minerals in meat. Without adequate fat, when you eat meat, your body will rob fat-soluble vitamins from its reserves. American Indians knew if hunting was poor and all they could catch was rabbits (or other very lean meat), they’d soon develop “rabbit starvation.” So, while I removed most of the visible fat, I was generous with the added bacon fat.
- 1 2.5-3 lb rabbit (I had a 3.37 lb rabbit, and this recipe worked out fine)
- salt –where to buy salt
- freshly ground black pepper –where to buy spices
- 4 slices bacon (pastured), additional bacon drippings are also good (see intro notes above)
- 4 shallots (organic), chopped
- 3 garlic (organic) cloves, minced
- 2 T all-purpose flour (I would assume you can substitute arrowroot powder) –where to buy flour
- 1/2 c dry white wine (I did use white, but I bet red would be good as well)
- 8 oz tomato sauce (organic)
- 1/2 c water
- 1 t chopped fresh thyme (organic) (for dried you can use less, but I like a lot of seasoning. I had only dried and used a full teaspoon) –where to buy herbs & spices
- 1 t minced fresh basil (organic) (ditto above about using dried) –where to buy herbs & spices
- 1 1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms (organic)
- 1/4 c chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (organic) for garnish (optional)
- Rinse the rabbit, pat dry, and cut into serving size pieces, removing as much of the silver skin as you can (I found How to Cut Up a Rabbit very helpful; see also intro notes above about removing the fat).
- Season the rabbit liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Cook the bacon over med-high heat in a large skillet until crisp.
- Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels (leaving the fat in the skillet), crumble, and set aside.
- Add the rabbit pieces to the hot bacon fat and brown on all sides, then transfer them to your crockpot.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the skillet (this is the point where I added extra bacon drippings I had on hand) and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the flour, then add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in the tomato sauce, water, thyme, and basil and bring to a boil.
- Pour the sauce over the rabbit; cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
- Add the mushrooms to the crockpot; cover and continue cooking on high for an additional 1 ½ to 3 hours, until the rabbit is very tender and falling off the bone. (I was out of the house for more than three hours, and it seemed perfect when I got home slipping off the bone.)
- Adjust seasonings to taste; garnish with chopped parsley and crumbled bacon.