Would you put rabbit recipes on your menu for Easter (or ever)?
Some people can’t stomach the thought of eating rabbit. They’re cute, fluffy, and, most notably this time of year, the source of Cadbury Crème Eggs. Plus, from Elmer Fudd to Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” it always seems to be obsessive lunatics who are hell bent on boiling bunnies.
Counterpoint: Rabbits are delicious! They’re also high in protein, low in calories, packed with vitamins and minerals, and, relative to other animals, are environmentally friendly to raise. Most importantly, despite their appearance they’re actually evil little buggers as anyone who has seen “Us” can attest–and don’t get me started on that lying, thieving Trix mascot. Below you’ll find recipes that bring out the best in this underrated source of meat.
Whole Rabbit Fryer, $33.99 at D'Artagnan
Lean but tender meat from rabbits raised without antibiotics on small farms.
Sweet and sour come to play in this ultra-rich preparation of braised rabbit legs courtesy of Atlanta’s famed Canoe restaurant. A luscious garlic caramel sauce is balanced by an ample dose of sherry vinegar but neither manage to overpower the flavorful meat. A kale and goat cheese risotto (made with carnaroli rice for extra creaminess) serves as the ideal side. Get the Braised Rabbit with Garlic Caramel Sauce and Risotto recipe.
“Hasenpfeffer? That’s a funny name.” – Bugs Bunny
If you’ve never eaten hasenpfeffer yet it sounds so familiar, that’s probably because you were reared on Looney Tunes. In 1962’s “Shishkabugs,” Yosemite Sam, who (for some unexplained reason) is working as a chef for the king (of what, also not explained), is tasked with making the classic German rabbit stew…and enter Bugs Bunny.
Though Chef Sam ultimately fails to pull off the dish thanks to his wascally counterpart, it’s actually a cinch to make. Simply marinate a whole rabbit for several hours, then brown it and let it simmer in a Dutch oven until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender. Mix with bacon, shallots, and sour cream and then serve over roasted potatoes or spaetzle to sop up every last drop of stew. Get the Hasenpfeffer (German Rabbit Stew) recipe.
Love fried chicken? Well, fried rabbit needs to be on your bucket list. This recipe takes advantage of a soak in buttermilk to ensure a crispy crust and juicy, tender meat. The heat adverse should make sure to adjust the amount of cayenne added to this multi-spice mix. Get the Fried Rabbit recipe.
Rabbit ragout is a favorite amongst hunters, but don’t feel obliged to track down a bunny in the wild if you want to try it for yourself. For this rendition from the great Emeril Lagasse, the meat is simmered in a fragrant bath of red wine and vegetables until it’s tender enough to be shredded with a fork. Toss with pappardelle, add a sprinkle of parmesan and crack open a bottle of a light Italian red for maximum enjoyment. Get the Rabbit Ragout Pappardelle recipe.
This quick and easy, skillet-roasted whole rabbit is an ideal weeknight meal. A simple braise of white wine, chicken stock, salt, and thyme is all it takes to make the gloriously-seared meat shine. If you want to save time, have the butcher tackle the potentially cumbersome task of breaking the carcass down. Get the Pan Roasted Rabbit in Wine Sauce recipe.
Rabbit Legs, 4 for $42.99 at D'Artagnan
You can also buy specific pieces of rabbit meat online (legs, loin, and/or saddle).
The pride of Valencia, paella is to Spanish cuisine what Andrea Iniesta is to fútbol. This classic all-meat preparation of the famed rice dish features rabbit and chicken providing an opportunity for a head-to-head taste test between the two proteins. Just be sure to use bomba rice and saffron–it’s worth the splurge. And if you really want to keep things authentic, purchase a paella pan to help guarantee the rice achieves that signature socarrat (the crispy layer at the bottom) as it cooks over the open flame. Get the Spanish Paella recipe.
Garcima 15-Inch Carbon Steel Paella Pan, $26.07 on Amazon
Be sure to season this as you would cast iron so it lasts and doesn't rust.
Is there anything more satisfying in Winter than warming your bones with a hearty cassoulet? The southern French staple pairs beans and sausage with a meaty centerpiece, in this case a crispy rabbit confit (cooked in fat). When the stew starts to bubble and the bread crumb topping turns golden brown, it’s time to dig in. Get the Rabbit Cassoulet recipe.
If you’re only willing to eat chocolate rabbits, check out our favorite Easter candy for adults—and get lots of bunny-free Easter recipes and Easter party ideas.
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