The United States suffers from the Easter Bunny syndrome. Instead of making the most out of rabbit recipes, using a delicious and nutritious form of meat, we take one look at the fluffy bunny in front of us and run.
In fact, rabbit meat is delicious and nutritious. It has less fat and fewer calories than chicken, beef, pork or turkey.
Domestic rabbit is all white meat. It is fine grained and easily digested. In fact, rabbit is often suggested for people on special diets because of its digestibility and high protein content.
Rabbit is sold in supermarkets in some areas of the country. In others, you'll need to look at specialty markets or buy from rabbit producers.
Of course, you can always raise them yourself. While butchering isn't a fun task, it is easily doable by most people if they set their mind to it.
Knowing how your meat was raised and processed is a good thing today with all the worry about food contamination in factory processing.
Once rabbit is more readily accepted here, it will be easier to find. Back during World War II, many people raised rabbits in their backyard to help provide protein for the family during food shortages.
Rabbit can be cooked like chicken in most recipes. Due to its low amount of fat, rabbit really needs to be cooked with some kind of moisture. You'll find lots of rabbit recipes for stewing and braising. These methods keep the meat moist and tender.
Sauces are another common part of rabbit recipes. Rabbit can be served with potatoes, rice or pasta. Once you become familiar with cooking methods and have located a good source of rabbit meat, it can become a regular part of your menu.
If you like roasted rabbit, think about using the loins only. The meat of the loin is tender and roasts well. Rabbit is considered done when the meat reaches 150 degrees F. For fried rabbit, be sure to get a young fryer. Older rabbits will tend to be tougher when cooked this way.
Rabbit takes on seasoning very well. Many recipes will suggest marinating the rabbit to infuse the meat with more flavor. Stay away from strong seasonings, however, as they can overpower the mild flavor of the rabbit. Thyme, sage and tarragon are excellent herb choices when seasoning rabbit. Many recipes also recommend using wine when cooking rabbit. The acidity helps tenderize the meat and adds flavor.
What Can You Make with Rabbit?
You can make lots of delicious recipes with rabbit. Fricassee is a traditional favorite, as is stew. Since rabbit has been cooked and eaten for hundreds of years, you can bet there are a lot of tried and true rabbit recipes just waiting to be discovered.
Rabbit can be curried, stuffed or made into a ragout. Cream sauce, wine sauce and mustard sauce are all traditional approaches. You can make Mexican rabbit, French rabbit or Creole rabbit.
Rabbit is an excellent base when using ethnic seasonings. Try it with chipotle, coconut milk or add it to paella. Try it marinated and then barbecued for a delicious change of pace. Rabbit is perfect year round.
Cut up rabbit meat can be added to stir fries or casseroles. Some people make rabbit sausage or rabbit hamburger. In fact, the American Rabbit Breeders Association sells a cookbook with over 1000 recipes in it from all over the world.
Costs of Rabbit
You will find that rabbit may be a bit more expensive than chicken. Unlike chicken, rabbits must be raised in individual pens after a certain age. They must be handled and cared for manually. Most rabbits that you buy in the market today are raised by small, family-operated ventures. Rabbits must be processed individually by hand. All of this adds to the cost of producing rabbit meat.
The savings occur when you consider the health of what you're eating. Rabbits are more economical to raise than beef. One doe can produce six pounds of meat on the same amount of food it takes a cow to produce one pound of meat.
If you're thinking of changing to a healthier diet, consider adding rabbit meat to the menu. With all the rabbit recipes available, you can make a different meal every night and still be eating rabbit.
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