Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kill da wabbit

Blame Bugs Bunny for rabbit not being more available in grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Can anyone order it without a vision of gray and white fur chomping on a carrot appearing before their eyes? Or that little cottontail bounding away?

Nonetheless, rabbit is a healthful protein, lean and with a taste similar to chicken. The bones are somewhat of a problem, but many dishes suggest an initial cooking of the meat, cooling and removing the bones before adding the meat to a sauce.

My first experience with rabbit was while I was a child in the Azores, on a vacation in a fancy hotel that featured five-course meals every night (soup, fish, meat, cheese and dessert). It was barbecued and delicious. 

Barbecued Rabbit with Tarragon-Dijon Marinade

3 to 3 ½ pound young dressed rabbit, cut up
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup each Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh minced tarragon
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Rinse rabbit and pat dry. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow dish. If it has not been brined, salt lightly (but if you are on a salt-free diet, the other ingredients should be enough seasoning).
Whisk together the rest of the ingredients for marinade; pour over rabbit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until next day, turning occasionally.
Lift rabbit from marinade and drain briefly. Barbecue rabbit by indirect heat, placing rabbit on grill directly above drip pan. Cover barbecue and adjust dampers as necessary to maintain an even heat. Cook, basting often with marinade, until meat is white at bone, at least 160 degrees internal temperature (about 35 minutes).
Serves 4 to 5

Recipe adapted from

For the non-squeamish among you, there's an excellent video on preparing a freshly killed rabbit for cooking on YouTube:

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