Rabbit – It’s The New Pork

Ragu

I think I’ve pretty handily established how much I’ve come to enjoy cooking and eating rabbit during the last 6 months.

Coincidentally, rabbit’s profile and status has been elevated in the media lately, with some even going so far as to dub it the “gateway” animal to raising their own food.  I wouldn’t necessarily go to that extreme, seeing as I have enough small, stinky animals coexisting with me as is, but I do love to suck the meat off the bones of the occasional, delicious hare.  No longer just a popular protein for immigrant fare, rabbit it seems is beginning to come into its own, whether the mainstream is ready or not.

So, it was without hesitation that I purchased a few whole rabbits on my last 2 trips to The Healthy Butcher, even though I had no particular plans for their meaty little carcasses at the time.

Since then we’ve had rabbit braised in red wine over polenta, a ginger mustard stewed rabbit, and most recently a succulent rabbit ragu (pictured above).  We generally don’t eat a whole lot of red meat or pork on a regular basis (it’s typically one or the other about once every 2 weeks), so rabbit has been a refreshing way to break up the monotony of a diet riddled with vegetarian meals, pastas and poultry.  It’s gamey, yet mild and faintly sweet, lending itself to numerous preparations; small enough to be cooked relatively quickly, while also capable of being braised for many hours.  In our house, one might even go so far as to say that rabbit is the new pork belly, or even the new chicken!?!

While sautéing the base for said ragu on a Sunday not too long ago, I stopped to reflect on a time when I used to think ragu was merely a brand that came in a jar, and how unlikely it would’ve been for that younger me to consume a bunny rabbit (nigh on 25 years ago, I’d reckon).  Oh, how things (and opinions) have changed.  After a 6 hour simmer, the ragu I craftily prepared with a jar of my own preserved bruschetta (subbing in for canned tomatoes) melted down into the perfect, wintry sauce for blanketing a bed of hand cut egg yolk noodles.  It wasn’t the first, but it’s sure to be but one of many delicious rabbits I’ll sit down to over the course of the rest of my life.

After all, I’ve got a quarter century of rabbit abstinence to make up for.  If you haven’t already, I’d suggest you hop to it and get yourself on the rabbit train, too.  Choo chew!

Until next time…

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