My mother is from Spain, and she likes to cook as if she’s feeding an army. Even if she was expecting only herself and my dad to eat, she’d have enough to offer anyone and their family to stay and eat dinner with them (incase they were to drop by). As you might guess, we eat with them often. On occasion, she’ll cook the meat supplied by my husband’s hunts.
I’ll never forget the first time my husband offered to bring my mother wild rabbit. Her eyes lit up and her mouth water as I am sure she was picturing a typical Spanish dish with a plump rabbit in the center.
That weekend, my husband brings back a few rabbits and tells my mother to pick them up whenever she’s ready for them. I happened to be at the house when my mom opened the refrigerator, and asked “Where is the rabbit?”
“Right there in the blue bowl.”
“Where is the rest of it?” Signs of panic started to show on her face.
“That is all there is.”
“Where is the body?”
“That is everything.”
“This is not a rabbit.” Her face couldn’t hide the disappointment.
Truthfully, I had never eaten or prepared rabbit before, so I was unaware of what the issue was. I didn’t realize the discrepancy between my mother’s expectation (who had eaten plenty of rabbit growing up) and the reality she was staring at.
Now, my mother is a little more hesitant to accept the offer to cook wild rabbit. So when my boys went on their first hunt and brought back rabbit, the task fell on my shoulders to bring it to the table.
I was so proud with the smell and appearance of my first rabbit dish. It wasn’t until it reached our mouthes that I realized the challenge I faced when preparing wild rabbit.
THERE ARE LOTS OF BONES AND NOT MUCH MEAT.
THERE ISN’T MUCH FAT, SO IT CAN BE VERY TOUGH AND DRY.
On the next round of rabbit cooking, my husband decided to fry it. Although it was less dry than the rabbit I prepared, it still wasn’t tender. Also, it was quite a chore to chew around all those bones.
After a few years of trial and error, I can exclaim: EUREKA!
Here is the recipe that won praises from my crew (husband and boys) and got me excited to cook rabbit, finally.
SLOW COOKED RABBIT (WITH CARROTS & CAULIFLOWER) SERVED OVER RICE
- Rabbit (I used one wild and one raised-because that is what I had)
- Chicken broth (42 oz. was just right for my size)
- Thyme (I used fresh)
- 1/2 an onion
- salt (2 cups)
- carrots (I used 3)
- cauliflower head
- 2 gallons water
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- pepper & salt (optional for taste)
- prepared rice
Don’t be alarmed by the 2 cups of salt. I mixed that with the two gallons of water to soak the rabbits in for a couple of hours before starting to cook. Soaking them in the brine helps to make the meat more tender. (This is key to success).
After the rabbits have soaked for a couple of hours, pull them out and discard the brine. Transfer to a crockpot and pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rabbits. I also added cubes of onion and fresh thyme. The crockpot was set on high for six hours, but not all crockpots are the same. Use your best judgement for timing your rabbit in your crockpot.
As the last thirty minutes are approaching, start steaming your vegetables and cooking your rice. Melt the butter and combine it with the flour to form a thin paste. Take three cups of liquid from the crockpot and gradually pour it into the flour/butter mix. Now would be the time to add in any pepper or salt for flavor. Stir continually until boiling.
If planned right, all timers should be sounding within a minute or so of one another. When all are finished, serve rice, place chicken over the rice, add a few vegetables, and pour the gravy over everything.