Rabbit

Domestic rabbit is a versatile meat that can be cooked in most of the same ways as chicken. In fact,in some countries it is classified as poultry. Some typical recipes for rabbit are included in Chapter 11, but nearly any chicken recipe can be used for domestic rabbit as well. In addition,many recipes for veal or pork are adaptable to rabbit.

Rabbit's light, delicate meat is often compared to chicken, but there are differences. It is somewhat more flavorful than chicken, with a mild but distinctive taste that is not exactly like that of other poultry or meat. Also, it is very lean (more like chicken or turkey breast than legs) and can become dry if overcooked.

Figure 10.11

Cutting rabbit for stews and sautés.

Figure 10.11

Cutting rabbit for stews and sautés.

(a) Cut off the hind legs, separating them at the hip joint.

(b) Cut off the forelegs by cutting under the shoulder blade.

(a) Cut off the hind legs, separating them at the hip joint.

(b) Cut off the forelegs by cutting under the shoulder blade.

(d) Cut through the backbone to separate the bony rib section from the meaty loin or saddle.

(e) Carefully separate the remaining rib bones from the loin and remove them. The saddle can then be cut crosswise through the backbone into pieces if desired.

(f) This is the cut-up rabbit, with the forelegs and rib section on the left, the saddle in the center, and the hind legs and hip bone on the right.

(d) Cut through the backbone to separate the bony rib section from the meaty loin or saddle.

(e) Carefully separate the remaining rib bones from the loin and remove them. The saddle can then be cut crosswise through the backbone into pieces if desired.

(f) This is the cut-up rabbit, with the forelegs and rib section on the left, the saddle in the center, and the hind legs and hip bone on the right.

Rabbit takes well to marination, and, of course, it can also be cooked without prior marination. Either way, it can be cooked by long, slow simmering, braising, or stewing, or it can be quickly cooked by sautéing,grilling, or roasting.

The structure of rabbit, of course, is like that of other land mammals rather than like that of poultry. Cutting methods divide the meaty hind legs, the bonier forelegs, and the choice saddle or back section (râble in French).The whole carcass, cut up, is used for stews and sautés, while the saddle alone is often roasted. It may be boned or bone-in. (See Figure 10.11.)

Small rabbits, 3 pounds (1.5 kg) or less, are the best for cooking. Mature rabbits, weighing about 4 to 5 pounds (about 2 kg), tend to be tougher and drier.

Hare is a wild cousin of the rabbit. (Please note that rabbits and hares are different animals.The American jackrabbit, for example,is actually a hare,not a rabbit.) Unlike domestic rabbit, with its light-colored, delicate meat, hare has flesh that is dark reddish-brown and gamy.

Hares seven to eight months old and weighing about 6 pounds (2.7 kg) make the best eating. Larger ones, more than 8 pounds (3.6 kg), are likely to be tough and stringy. Because its structure is the same, hare is cut the same way as rabbit.

Continue reading here: Roast Saddle of Hare

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