eunice and i have had rabbit only a few times. the first, at the kitchen in sacramento (amazing!) and again in mendocino. both times, we were pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. i feel it could easily replace chicken as my white meat of choice. (pork not included, oh my god, bacon!!!)
that being said, i have never even dared to attempt cooking rabbit at home, for many reasons, #1 being the fact that i never really came across a vendor of delicious, organic, humanely raised rabbit. this all changed several months ago when the organic chicken lady at the Sunday farmer’s market had whole rabbit scrawled across her blackboard. i inquired, but no luck, rabbits were already gone, and it was a once a month occurrence, if that, so good luck. with my schedule, making the market one time every four weeks, if that even, i felt destined to a life of petting rabbits, and not eating them.
blessed with a clinic month this june and three entire weekends off (whoa), i managed to make it to the market for the first time in ages. primarily excited for my first pretzel croissant in months and the first ranier cherries of the season, i was pleasantly surprised to find rabbit again scrawled across the chicken vendor’s blackboard. needless to say, nervous at first, i went for it, and purchased one whole rabbit.
there are many preparations out there, from classic french to buttermilk fried. i evaluated several and eventually settled on a mexican recipe from one of our recent cookbook purcahes, the essential cuisines of mexico by diana kennedy. the recipe was conejo en chile. simple and perfect for my first experience. it involved frying the rabbit with onions, combining with a garlic and chile sauce, and serving with hot tortillas.
the only really daunting step was butchering the rabbit. i haven’t really butchered much of anything, but am eager to improve my skills. i’ll spare you instructions, as those are all over the web. i used a little help from one my favorite blogs, hunter angler gardener cook.
the process was relatively easy, and the recipe was as well. the chiles, guajillos and anchos, were toasted and had a great smokey thing going on. it inspired me to head to the wine cellar (ok, drawer). the perfect pair would be an Indian Creek 2008 pinot purchased last fall. this is a second label from Navarro vineyards in Anderson valley that has a number of 2008 wines under the Indian Creek label, all of which were greatly affected by the forest fires of that year. smoke sat in the anderson valley for months, and the grapes really let you know. really pleased with the combination that resulted.
great meal, great wine, another great night.