I never once thought in my life that I would live 45 minutes away from France. I mean, I would often have day dreams of living in Paris…especially during class in culinary school. Riding my bike along cobblestone streets and filling a basket with fresh baguettes, local wines, veggies and freshly butchered meats. I imagine this is a reoccurring dream for most aspiring chefs.
So in my meat-hording adventures I procured these little french bunnies. The livers were a nice snack I made while prepping the rest of dinner. This recipe is actually super simple, don’t let that fool you though…it is incredibly flavorful. It had Alex hunched over like a caveman slurping and grunting. I can always tell when he really likes something because he stops talking. I imagine most people don’t have rabbit stock lying around, so most recipes like this call for chicken stock. It’s light and compliments most flavor combinations without overpowering the soup. I just happened to have beef stock that needed to be used up and it was a good call! It was rich and roasty, complimenting everything about the soup.
In a nutshell: wild rabbit and farmed rabbit are two very different beasts. Wild rabbit meat is lean and gamy in flavor, rich, earthy and distinct. Wild rabbits run around a lot and the muscles get very developed, which is why the meat is so dark.
Farmed rabbits, in contrast, are fat and lazy from lying around the pen eating. Farmed rabbit is white, has lovely creamy fat hanging around its belly and loin, and has a more delicate flavor.
The difference is even more pronounced when the meat is cooked. Farmed rabbit is tender, and can be as soft as butter provided it is cooked a certain way. Wild rabbit has to be cooked for a long time in a wet sauce before it will yield, and it doesn’t roast well.
For wild rabbit, simmering low & slow is the key to getting your rabbit to be nice and tender.
Wild Rabbit Stew
- 2 whole rabbits, wild if possible
- 2 tbsp English mustard powder
- 2 tbsp soy flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 small onions, peeled and diced
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled & sliced into bite-sized coins
- A few sprigs thyme
- 1 quart stock (beef and chicken work well)
- ½ tsp whole grain mustard
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the mustard powder and soy flour with a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Toss all the rabbit pieces in the seasoning mix until well coated.
- Heat the oil in a large, shallow sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the rabbit and brown evenly on all sides, adding oil as required.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots and thyme, and cook gently until soft and fragrant.
- Pour over the stock (topping up with just enough water to cover–only if necessary).
- Simmer gently for about 45 minutes, adding water if the liquid gets low.
- When the meat is tender, simmer the liquid a little to thicken, and stir in the mustard before serving.
- Taste broth ad season to taste with salt and pepper.