One growing trend in meat consumption is rabbit. If the idea of eating something so fluffy and cute makes you take pause, consider this: chickens are pretty cute too. Anytime you eat meat, an animal had died. It is easy to be oblivious of the animal's life when all we see at the grocery store are packages of pieces that don't look anything like the living animal. It is difficult to know what the animal was fed, if they were given hormones or antibiotics and the living conditions. By getting to know your farmers, you know what food you're eating and how those choices are impacting the environment.
I had the opportunity to interview Nick Carter of Meat the Rabbit, a rabbit meat supplier based in Indiana. Nick is an entrepreneur and farm kid and saw a niche to be filled- chefs wanted to have rabbits on their menus but didn't have a reliable supply. Eating rabbit is a greener option for eating meat. Large scale for raising rabbits might be twenty working does - rabbit lingo for a breeding mother - versus 1,000's of beef cattle on an industrial feedlot. The rabbit manure stays on the farm and increases soil fertility vs. cow manure being treated as a hazard and being carted off and polluting our waterways. Rabbits also have a very high feed:meat ratio - this means that it takes significantly less food to produce a pound of meat in a rabbit than it does in a cow. Rabbits are clean and quiet - excellent neighbors indeed - and are raised without hormones or antibiotics for Meat the Rabbit. Finally, because rabbits are sold whole, waste is much lower than when buying only part of an animal, such as chicken breasts or pork loin.
Nick's favorite way to cook rabbit is beer braised. I'll have to try that next! The inspiration for this recipe came from here, and I modified it to my personal tastes and the ingredients I had on hand. Don't know how to cut up a rabbit? I didn't either - but with the guidance of google and youtube, I managed. Unfortunately, I had Elmer Fudd's little tune "kill the rabbit" stuck in my head. Gulp.
Rabbit and Sweet Potato Stew
- 1 rabbit, about 3 pounds, cut up
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil.
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- dash pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, sauteed
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup water
- Dijon mustard, for garnish
- Preheat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoon butter or olive oil.
- Dredge rabbit pieces in flour and add to pot. Brown meat on all sides.
- Add celery, onions, salt, pepper, bay leaves, water and wine. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for two hours, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in remaining tablespoon butter or olive oil until nicely browned.
- After stew has simmered for two hours, add sweet potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Simmer 20-25 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.
- Mix flour and remaining 1/3-cup water until no lumps remain. Stir this mixture into stew to thicken.
- Ladle stew into serving bowls and garnish with Dijon mustard.
|Make sure your knife is sharp|
|Brown rabbit meat on all sides|
|This stew is loaded with vegetables!|
|Thicken stew with flour mixture|
Reader poll: Have you ever eaten rabbit? What is your favorite recipe?
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