Rabbit Stew

By on Thursday, April 4th, 2013 at 8:21 am

Rabbit Stew

I wanted to save the rabbit meat for easter dinner. Nobody else was really into that idea.

Rabbit isn’t as common a protein as it once was. Rabbits are breed quickly, are relatively easy to maintain, and don’t take up too much space. They are great peasant food.

My grandfather loved rabbit meat. In Italy as a child, his family raised rabbits in their small patch of land. This shouldn’t be romanticized.

Most southern Italians didn’t own the land they worked, instead working for padroni, the bosses. If they did have access to a patch of land as my grandfather’s parents had, also paid taxes to the government on the food they raised themselves. Its not all that surprising then that so many Italians left their homeland during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

Rabbit was popular in the United States at the time, also. Beef prices did come down through the 20th century, and as the beef got cheaper, alternative meat like rabbits grew less popular. Ironically, it has a low fat content making it a relative lean meat that probably would be very appealing to people interested in the various fad diets today.

Finding rabbit meat is not always easy. In New York City, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats receives a few rabbits on Saturday mornings. They can be bought whole and usually sell out by the end of the day. At the various green markets around the city, I’ve found rabbit meat available from some of the tables.

One of the drawbacks of rabbit is that it can have tiny bones. They are small animals after all. Braising a rabbit in a stew is one way to separate the meat from this tiny bones, but its still possible of course to come across a choking hazard.

I didn’t follow much of a recipe on this. I chopped up some basic vegetables: onions, garlic, celery, and tossed in some large carrot chunks. I saved the mushrooms for the end to keep them from totally disappearing in the broth. After covering it with chicken broth, it braised for a few hours until the meat fell off the bones.


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