I come from pioneer stock so eating game doesn’t bother me but it was a big step to actually purchase a rabbit at the farmer’s market with my husband a few months ago. The poor thing was forgotten about for months in the freezer but last night without anyone seeing it I thawed it and butchered it in pieces that looked similar to a cut-up chicken. My husband, who is always a bit squeamish about eating foods that aren’t normally purchased at the supermarket, took a huge stride when I convinced him to buy that rabbit. He said that he had heard that it was a lot like chicken from some reliable sources and would be willing to try it some time. Well the time had come! Now to cook it without a negative reaction…
I didn’t want to make an issue of the rabbit in front of my daughter either, because being an eleven year old who often falls in love with anything cute, furry, and having adorable little whiskers, there might have been a reaction akin to the one when Bambi’s mother died…it wasn’t good and there was quite a bit of howling as I recall but she was four years old then. There is hope in this venture.
I then had to set up a bit of a ruse making a bigger deal out of the new method of cooking cabbage on the grill that I had seen someone do on Facebook. Jeff was, to my relief, really interested in this process so I asked him to start up the grill for me…you know…doing the man stuff of which he is always pleased to avail himself (God, I love him! (my prayer of praise)).
I was starting to feel a bit guilty at this point being a deceptive diva, but by keeping him focused on the cabbage steaks I was able to covertly prepare the pieces of rabbit by soaking them in a bit of cream and rolling them in flour seasoned with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. I seared them on all sides in a large skillet with the bottom covered in extra virgin olive oil. At this point Jeff came into the kitchen with a smile at the aroma of good food cooking. I smiled back as I poured a little cream over the meat in the pan, then about a cup of water and a bit more salt, knowing with a certain weight that he was completely unaware of what was going on.
I covered the pan, put it on a simmer, and let it go for about 25 minutes just bubbling away. We then went out to the grill to check on the cabbage which was coming along nicely. Some of the edges that loosened were getting a bit charred but for the most part the centers were getting nicely caramelized by the butter and seasonings that were spread on them prior to grilling. We couldn’t help tasting the pieces that unfurled and they were wonderful! I will do this again over the summer for sure. We removed the cabbage when it was beginning to get soft. It took about twenty minutes or so browning on a medium setting of flame and being gently turned a couple of times.
So back to the kitchen I had corn on the cob boiling away next to the rabbit. I turned off all the heat and uncovered the rabbit. It was simmering in a beautiful gravy that had thickened because of the flour that I rolled the meat in earlier. The moment of truth was near. I plated up a leg portion for both Jeff and Julia and I took the forelegs which resembled wings, my usual choice when eating “chicken”.
After saying grace we began eating. The cabbage was delicious and Jeff and Julia began eating their rabbit without even knowing that it wasn’t really chicken. It was so hard to hide my guilty smirk. I couldn’t do it anymore! I asked how they liked the “chicken” and they both said, “Mmm, really good!”
At that point the game was up (no pun intended). I told them the truth and they responded well. They examined the meat with some curiosity and nods of approval. Now my guilt was released and to my delight they kept on eating. The rabbit really was delicious and we went on enjoying it without further ado.
Jeff really does have a discerning taste and I’m surprised he didn’t catch on. He admitted that there was something different but he just figured it was how I cooked it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fool him with deer meat and I don’t even want to fool him at all but I admit, after this I’m tempted to try…he he.