Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

I sincerely apologize for not having the planned post up Friday, but I had completely forgotten that The Young One and I had an appointment to spend the day at Kent State for something called “Golden Flash Day” where I spent 6 hours with 500 other glassy-eyed parents who looked as if they, too, wondered how the hell they’re going to pay for the next 4 years.  They served us both breakfast and lunch – apparently as some sort of compensation for telling us that the school wants $19,000 a year to educate our kids – but that’s a subject for another post (the Spin Cycle this week is “Why??” and this would be the perfect Spin).

At any rate, today’s recipe was inspired by Hank Shaw, Master of All That is Hunted, Fished and Foraged.  Apparently he and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes are quite chummy because the original recipe, which I’ve adapted to suit my particular dietary needs, is one of many guest posts by Hank on Elise’s site.

And a delicious recipe it is.  We’ve come to love rabbit; it’s really a tender, mild-tasting meat – if you didn’t know you were eating bunny, you’d truly think it was chicken.  Well, that’s true at least of domestic rabbit, which is farmed, and is the kind we buy (if I’m not mistaken, it’s illegal to sell wild meats that are hunted, and I’m not quite up – yet – to going out and slaying the critters myself).

This is a simple recipe, but really quite elegant, although my picture isn’t quite as nice as the one with the original recipe.  The meat is tender and the sauce is tangy and rich; it was just lovely served over a my Cauliflower-Celery Root Puree.

If you just can’t bring yourself to eat rabbit, this would be great with chicken thighs.

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce - a French Bistro Classic, farm-raised rabbit is braised in a creamy, piquant sauce.

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce
Serves: 4
  • 1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces
  • kosher sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  1. Salt the rabbit well and set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than an hour.
  2. Melt the ghee over medium heat in a wide, shallow enameled Dutch oven or skillet with a lid. Pat the rabbit pieces dry and slowly brown them in the ghee, in batches if necessary; do not allow the pieces to touch. Remove the rabbit to a bowl or platter and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the white wine and increase the heat to high, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the mustard, thyme and water and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Decrease the heat to low; return the rabbit to the pan, turning to coat them with the sauce. Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the rabbit is very tender.
  5. Gently transfer the rabbit pieces to a platter and keep warm. Increase the heat under the pan to high and bring to a boil; reduce the sauce by half. Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk and parsley. Stir to combine and return the rabbit to the pan. Coat with the sauce and serve at once.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 444 calories, 28.4g total fat, 127.5mg cholesterol, 455.9mg sodium, 732.7mg potassium, 5.3g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, <1g sugar, 36.5g protein

Barbecue Rabbit

I was maybe 13 when my stepfather killed, skinned and cooked a rabbit.  As he sat it in front of me to try, I burst into tears – how on earth could he expect me to eat a sweet, adorable, harmless little bunny?  Fast forward about 35 or so years, and my tulips and vegetable garden are being decimated by those adorable-but-not-so-harmless bunnies.  It occurs to me that they are probably damn tasty, being so well-fed, and that if I could strangle catch one with my bare hands it would become dinner in very short order.

Odd how age changes ones perspective.

It is also odd that my kids are not in the least bit squeamish about eating critters – I’m not sure why, since I never fed them anything out of the ordinary until relatively recently.  It is particularly puzzling because The Young One, who turns his nose up at sweet potatoes, cabbage, cooked carrots, plantains, beans of any sort (with the exception of green beans), parsnips, beets, radishes, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, collard greens, onions, most nuts and quiche will eat just about anything if you tell him it is a) meat or 2) cheese.

We had planned to cook our rabbit over the weekend, but postponed because the boy complained he would not be at home to eat any, due to work and plans with friends.  So, we made it last night and I discovered something amusing, but not particularly surprising:  given the opportunity, my 17-year-old son can decimate an entire bunny by himself.  And while he normally wouldn’t touch rhubarb with a 10-foot pole, if you turn it into a sauce and slather said bunny with it while it is on the grill, he will declare it one of the best things he’s eaten.  EVAR.

Go figure.

I particularly enjoyed this recipe because it forced me to learn to cut up a rabbit, which turned out to be far easier than I anticipated – there’s an excellent step-by-step tutorial here.  One thing to be aware of is that Hank is cutting up a wild rabbit that he has skinned and cleaned himself; if you’re like me, you probably only have access to domestic rabbit that has already been butchered and frozen – ours was already remarkably clean, with very little silverskin to remove.  I also cut the loins from the bones; I’m not very fond of eating things off the spine (although I may change my mind about that).  If you’re squeamish about the process, you might be able to find rabbit that has already been cut down into its component parts.

Young rabbits are small, so count on one only feeding two people (unless, of course, you are feeding a teenage carnivore).  They’re also quite lean, so low and slow is the best way to cook them, even on the grill, and marinating the rabbit prior to grilling is a good idea, even though the flavor is quite mild.

Note:  The carb count on this recipe is probably overstated a bit, since the yogurt marinade is rinsed from the rabbit before grilling.

Barbeuce Rabbit
Barbecue Rabbit
Barbecue Rabbit
Serves: 4
  • 2 small rabbits, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/?p=13945″]Rhubarb Chutney Sauce[/url]
  1. Place the rabbit pieces in a large bowl and smear with the yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but as long as 8.
  2. Remove the rabbit from the bowl and rinse off the yogurt marinade; pat dry. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and allow the rabbit to come to room temperature, about half an hour. While the rabbit is resting, prepare the grill.
  3. Cook the meat over indirect heat, turning frequently, until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 F – 165 F. Baste the rabbit with the rhubarb sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  4. Allow the rabbit to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 385 calories, 14.6g total fat, 137.2mg cholesterol, 122.7mg sodium, 927.3mg potassium, 12.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 11.1g sugar, 47.9g protein


Duck Season! Wabbit Season!

Saturday, Beloved and I drove to Mogadore, Ohio (better known as Outer Podunk) to Duma Meats.  They are cattle farmers (who, alas, grain finish their beef unless you order an entire steer to be grass-finished) with a thriving retail store fronting their operation.  Over the years, they have expanded their store to include pork, chicken, deli meats and cheese, bottled sauces and condiments and locally grown fresh vegetables along with the beef they raise.

They also have a large freezer section with “variety” meats – we’ve purchased elk and bison there in the past.  And Saturday, we purchased one of these:



As well as one of these:

So…what the heck do I do with them?  Any suggestions?

(By the way, I also have two of these:


but we won’t go there just yet…)