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are you game?

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My lovely neighbour called me today from out the back of the hill and asked if I'd like a rabbit. 

He'd been trying to shoot a fox but the fox had been too far away, but he'd capped a rabbit and remembered that I'd mentioned I'd like to have a go at cooking one.

I hesitated, I'll be honest, then I said yes please. 

He brought it over the hill to me, and I accepted it gratefully, wishing I knew what the heck to do with it. 

I put it on the sink in the kitchen and went to get my laptop to do some googling. 

When I came back the kids were yelling hysterically, it mooooved!

I said that of course it did, nerves yada yada, then it moved again. I too was pretty convinced it was still alive. I grabbed it up and with the kids trailing behind me yelling, 'it's aliiiive, it's aliiiive', we high tailed it to the pig paddock where Adam was doing some fencing. 

Our neighbour had stopped to talk to Adam and the two of them confirmed that the animal was indeed dead. And had been. And was still. 

I was handed the rabbit back, I thanked them and headed back to the kitchen. 

 

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After dinner and without the children, I returned to deal with the furry creature on the sink. 

I had googled "skin a rabbit" and found a great youtube video, six minutes long, which I watched twice. 

It was a great tutorial. 

I floundered only when I was trying to invicerate the creature and all the innards were warm. Freaked me out a bit. But I reminded myself that we strongly believe in doing things ourselves, as well as appreciating all things frugal. My grandmother probably skinned many rabbits. Probably at this sink. Adam's grandmother certainly had. And I really wanted to cook it. The most respectful thing to do was deal with the whole animal myself.

And so I did. By myself (while Adam supervised bathtime.) And after very successfully skinning and gutting and washing the rabbit, I chopped it into large pieces and brined them in salty water.

I'd like to make rabbit pie but I think you'd need at least three or four animals for a pie.

Maybe stew.

 

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It's disproportionate, but I'm strangely and ridiculously proud of myself.

Have you ever cooked rabbit?

Got a recipe?

And yes, my son is a ninja and my daughter is pretending to be princess, in red ugg boots. In the paddock. Don't you love school holidays?

xxx

 

 

33 Comments on “are you game?

kristin
July 7, 2012 at 5:11 am

Good for you! I think it’s really important that kids see us “doing things ourselves,” as you put it. We raise our own meat chickens (and egg ones too) and you’d be floored by how many people are completely grossed out that we do so. And they’re not vegetarians. Because the chicken you buy at the store is grown on plants in little white styrofoam packets … in the back of the store. Sigh.

Besides, I’m just so impressed that you can look so classy holding a dead rabbit in a paddock! I’m serious!

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Penny Hannah
July 7, 2012 at 6:01 am

You are one impressive woman! The only time I was given a brace of rabbits, I’m afraid I freaked out and ran away and left them for my husband to dispose of. But it’s great as Kristin said, that the kids are learning what has to be done to put food on the table and to take it all in their stride. Sorry I don’t have a rabbit recipe to share, but I’m sure someone will have one.

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Cath
July 7, 2012 at 6:03 am

Your first rabbit to deal with, I can relate. I cooked my first game bird very recently. Brave, proud feelings, but not easy either.

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Good for you, Fi! I have a rabbit in the freezer (not skinned myself I hasten to add as I did not got hunting for it myself!) but will eventually turn it into stew too. The kids are amazed that we have a rabbit in the freezer, and did ask at the time if it was Peter (the big white rabbit that was in the garden and then mysteriously disappeared!

That said, I do draw our chickens myself and am as happy as Larry to gut and skin a fish. The kids are actually disappointed if I don’t do a post mortem on our chickens before we eat them, so they can see inside and have indepth conversations about what a gizzard is, and what it’s last meal was (generally grain and pasta is what they can see!)

So pleased that you are taking it all in your stride 🙂 xxxx

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So brave of you.I mean skinning it, not cooking i!.

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Jodie
July 7, 2012 at 8:00 am

I’ve never actually skinned and cleaned my own rabbit (and will happily admit that I’m not in a hurry to do so!!!) but we cook it reasonably often: traditional Valencian paella featured rabbit and there are some beautiful Italian dishes that team rabbit and mustard, usually braised. You buy it in pieces like chicken in German supermarkets so we got to know it a bit over there! With a wild rabbit you probably want to soak it in water and vinegar for a bit to reduce the “gamieness” of it or it might be bit overpowering.

Looking forward to hearing how you goet on!! xx J.

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Ange Thomp
July 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

I have eaten plenty of rabbit stew. It is Very good. Love your hair long. One day we will get that cuppa in…xo

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Janet
July 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Well done, not sure I could do it.

I have made a honey mustard rabbit casserole (can’t locate the recipe but you should be able to convert a h/m chook recipe, just make sure it is a well rounded base as the rabbit can be a gamey taste. Our 10 yr old’s first taste of rabbit was this casserole/stew
http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2601/spanish-rabbit-and-chickpea-stew.aspx

Isn’t it funny we would have rabbit more often but because we need to buy then from the farmers market the cost is putting it in the once in a while category, whereas our ancestors thought of rabbit like we do chook! cheap and plentiful.

enjoy
Janet

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Liesel
July 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Awesome levels of bravery! How was the rabbit pie? Liesel

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knutty knitter
July 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I think our casserole was bread crumbed and baked with onions/carrots etc. Its a while since we had one as we don’t live near friends who hunt at present. Congrats on preparing it! The first time is always the worst.

viv in nz

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innerpickle
July 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Yes we will. Please stop in. xxx

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innerpickle
July 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

So true Janet! Strange how the world rolls sometimes.

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innerpickle
July 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Yep, it’s in brine in the fridge. Planning to make something from it tonight. I remembered you guys talking about Rabbit in Germany. I think the French, Italians and Germans all use quite a bit of it, right? Maybe they are onto something. xx

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International Woman of Mystery
July 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Oh…my…goodness…Yes, I am WAY impressed with your rabbit activities. Beyond proud of you actually. Was all excited about your fabulousness and then I saw something that made me forget it all in a moment. THAT HAIR! Has it been so long since I’ve seen it down? You have LONG HAIR madam! And it looks glamorous and gorgeous. Yes, glamorous…and you’re holding a dead rabbit by its little rabbit feet, in a paddock, wearing wellies (and not silly branded ones that the wallies in Hong Kong wear when it starts to sprinkle). Now, THAT is impressive.

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margo
July 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm

We eat a bit of rabbit here normally trade 2 for a bottle of wine with one of the neighbours who does the shooting. I normally make a stew but add in a handful (say 6-8) prunes plus some red wine or stock and assorted herbs as the mood takes me and do in the crock pot. The prunes add a lovely, luxurious richness. That’s about the extent of my recipe as I’m a bit of a stand back and throw kinda cook 🙂

picture of the latest one here
http://margoandjerry.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/not-blogging-studying-and-er-blogging.html

I’ve never brined it before hand and haven’t felt it had a strong gamey taste – but then again I like most game so probably wouldn’t be put off if it did.

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Angela
July 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm

My grandmother certainly didn’t skin any rabbits. I think I might take after her in that way. Better you than me with that task!

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innerpickle
July 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I put in that photo with hair down SPECIFICALLY for you. Specifically. And if you had not commented on it the entire world would have been out of alignment. Honestly. Us and hair. Its like a religion. xx

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inger
July 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Love your hair! Mine is always so disappointing once past the ears, but yours is luxurious. X

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jacinta
July 7, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Im happy to shoot them but the guing freaks me. Well done 🙂

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Cassandra Allen
July 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Brave woman! By the way you look great with that hair, longer and darker, in a paddock wearing gumboots grasping a dead rabbit and standing beside a ninja and a princess!

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Darren (Green Change)
July 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Nice! I met another neighbour here last week, and he keeps meat rabbits. He’s happy to help me get going with them, so “setting up the rabbit cages” just moved a few spots up the To Do list :-).

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Mom24boys
July 8, 2012 at 6:30 am

One year when we were very poor, our protein was providentially provided. The dairy farmer on the other side of the hill poisoned the coyotes the previous year and caused a population explosion of cottontail rabbits the next. I could easily have shot dinner from my kitchen window but Hub walked the 20 yards to the paddock and did the job. He also did all the skinning and drawing, tho I am quite capable he is just much quicker and doesn’t mind at all.

We ate rabbit so much that year that I was giddy with delight when I saw him coming up the road with a big rattlesnake. All I could think of was “something other than rabbit for dinner!” It was good, too!

Anyway, I had just one rule of thumb for cooking rabbit: brine it if you aren’t going to braise it. You can pretty much use any chicken recipe to prepare rabbit but you must keep in mind how lean the rabbit is and add some sort of fat: bacon, cream sauce, fried, etc.

Our favorite way to eat rabbit was simply fried, served with cream gravy made in the skillet rabbit was fried in and fried potatoes, and greens. The next morning, breakfast would be left over rabbit shredded into the left over gravy and served over biscuits (scone-like American type). Delish!

Here is a recipe from my grandmother who shot, skinned and cleaned her own rabbits.

Rabbit Rosemary
4 med. potatoes, pared & halved
4 carrots, pared & chunked
2-4 parsnips, pared & chunked
1 green bell pepper, in strips
2 stalks celery with leaves, diced
1 med. onion, diced
12 mushrooms, halved
3 tomatoes, thickly sliced
6-8 strips bacon
2-4 pounds rabbit in serving size pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
-OR- 3 inch sprig of fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry wine

Using a 3 quart covered casserole, line the bottom with the bacon. Lay rabbit on top and season generously with salt and pepper. Layer the vegetable on top saving the tomatoes for last. Push bay leaves down in and sprinkle the rosemary or lay the sprig on top. Pour the wine over all and cover. Bake in a 375*F oven for 1.5 hours.
Remove bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Serve with crusty bread and a chilled vin rose and everybody will agree with Shakespeare’s line:
“There’s rosemary…that’s for remembrance.”

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innerpickle
July 8, 2012 at 7:14 am

Thank you so much for that recipe! And the story! Although part of me wishes you DID shoot from your kitchen window because that is a priceless image! Where are you, Mum to 4?

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Erin
July 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

We grew up on rabbit, and I am back living on a farm now. We have rabbits running around the backyard at the moment, as we had a bit of a clean up of the foxes before lambing season began. My Mum does a fabulous KFC style rabbit dish, and my Nana does a delicious stuffed roasted whole rabbit. A fancy restaurant in town does a wonderful asian style rabbit soup with risoni and loads of galangal and citrus flavours. We can’t get enough of it.
Funny though, my sister and I grew up experiencing the same things at the same time, being only 18 months apart and she won’t touch anything killed on the property or in the backyard, including chook. She thinks she can tell. My thoughts are, if you can tell, it should taste better.

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Rach
July 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I remember my brother going out rabbit shooting when I was a kid but I don’t remember eating any LOL. My grandmother, an ex-shearers cook, talks of cooking rabbit a lot when she was younger. Masterchef has done quite a few ‘game’ dishes included braised rabbit. http://www.masterchef.com.au/recipe-search.htm?tag=Game&cat=Main Ingredient

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Tricia
July 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I’m impressed! I like to think I could skin and gut a rabbit – but am not certain I could.

I’ve cooked rabbit a few time. Usually in a spanish style casserole.

I was thinking of you last week. I farm sat Purple Pear for the week. I even got to milk a cow each morning. I’m so in love with the morning milking ritual and miss it already. not to mention the delicious raw milk.

Your hair looks gorgeous!!

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Sue
July 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Wow. Looking forward to knowing what and how you do with it.

This feels so lame- I bought “Game Pie Mix” at the Farmers’ Market months ago, thinking I would be brave and have a go. Mostly birds, a bit of venison, if I remember correctly. It’s still in the freezer. Now it’s summer, which feels like an excuse to not make pie, but in fact we’re having a lousy summer. (Bring on the Olympics!)

Love you!

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Tania
July 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

We ventured into the world of rabbit eating a few months back after being given six by a friend. Posted here:
http://ivynest.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/on-eating-rabbit.html

My son and hubby had a go at skinning and gutting, I merely salted, jointed and cooked them. I had great success cooking them in wine as a stew. Just beware the bones. But we quite liked the taste and it was even a hit with the kids. I think it’s the ultimate frugal meat. I still have a few left and I’m thinking pie too. There’s a recipe for rabbit pie in a Jamie Oliver cookbook I want to try.

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Bee Girl (AKA Melissa)
July 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm

How fantastic! I’m so glad you took the challenge and did it on your own…very impressive 🙂 I’m right there with you in learning how to do many things on our own. It’s a challenge, but it’s all pride worthy!

My partner and I have been tossing around the idea of raising meat rabbits, but up until last night neither of us had ever tried rabbit! Can you believe it?! the good news is, we like the taste of it 🙂 Now, if we can just get past the soft fluffy ears and figure out how to off them and such, we’ll be all set.

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SB
July 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I can’t believe you just skinned a rabbit! Oh my! I so want to go and visit your 16 year old self. wow! O says you’re truly authentic now (he’s very impressed)… I’m still coming to grips with the fact you really did it!! and, yes the hair is awesome and I’m ridiculously jealous of the length and O is horrified this post has turned into a discussion on hair (he’s not actually surprised but still, horrified).

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Nancy in Canada
July 10, 2012 at 6:18 am

I love your kids to bits..
I was given a frozen rabbit once. Didn’t know what to do with it (thankfully already skinned etc) So I cooked it twice. It was okay, but when my daughter’s boyfriend tried some, she refused to kiss him. Poor guy.
I do not eat meat any longer, but I would never take another rabbit- they def fall into the pet category for me. Cultural thing. I thought I wanted to cook it, btw. It just completely freaked me out and was so close to the frame of an infant that I completely balked. *shudder* Whoo! So your princess.. has she heard about A Little Princess? (the book, not the movie) I got so wrapped up in that book.. it was bliss.

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CassiOz
July 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I despair at trying to keep rabbits out of my garden so I’ve resorted to setting snares whenever I find a ‘run’. With 2 acres of house garden, I just can’t re-fence every place they work out how to get under. The up side is rabbit for the pot. I so something very similar to yours but the variations are white wine/vermouth with root veg, herbs and mushrooms. Or onion,celery, smokey bacon, red wine, rosemary and prunes (don’t knock it until you try it).
I haven’t tried brining rabbit yet but it’s next on my list.

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Claudine
July 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I love love love this post! Skinned a rabbit — wow! I too often think of the many things my great-grandmother did (like pluck chickens) and wonder if I too could do that!

You have, bravo!!

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