Whenever I would speak to my Uncle Stan, he would ask if the husband had gotten any rabbits lately. Sadly, Uncle Stan passed away (at the amazing age of 91!) in February. So, when the husband headed out Thumper hunting on Saturday, we knew that should he get one, it would be for Stan. In fact, the awesome hat he’s rocking in his picture was Stan’s. He would have been really proud to hear about the trip and how delicious that little bunny was.
Rabbit has the reputation for being tricky to cook, but this most recent recipe was probably the easiest, and best, we have ever had.
First, you need to brine your bunny for a day in salt water to tenderize and help remove the iron-y blood taste from the game. After that you’re ready to go. Break down the legs and remove the rib cage. The back strap is one of the best parts of any animal, so to minimize the chance of ruining it, I leave the entire back column intact. Obviously we aren’t running a fancy french restaurant out of our kitchen, so I’m not concerned with presentation. Remove tough silver skin with a sharp knife and you’re basically done.
In a large pot, brown the rabbit pieces in 2 TB or so of oil for about 3 minutes on each side, set aside.
- Add 1 whole chopped onion to the pot and saute until soft – about 5 minutes. Add 3 cloves chopped garlic and cook until fragrant – about 1 more minute.
- Add 2 cups chicken broth to the onion and garlic mixture, toss in a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme if that’s your thing. Liberally pepper the broth.
- Add rabbit to the broth mixture and quickly bring to boil. As soon as it has boiled turn the setting to low, cover, and slowly simmer for 35 – 45 minutes. Low and slow is the way to go with rabbit lest you turn it to leather.
When your rabbit is finished, remove from the pot and set aside.
- In a separate container, create a slurry with 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 5 TB water.
- Shake to mix well, and add to the remaining broth and onion mixture. Bring to boil while stirring. Remove from heat once it has boiled.
- Spoon the gravy over your rabbit and viola! What’s up Doc?!
You may think that the lemon sounds insane (I did the same thing) but it is a surprisingly delicious touch. A high note of citrus that really elevates the rabbit to a different level.
I also serve my rabbit with carrots (these were grown in our urban garden this summer and roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper) – because I find it hilarious. And of course, delicious.
My friend Heather moved a year or so ago from the big city to a fab little house about an hour away. I don’t get to see her as much as I used to, and am ashamed to admit that yesterday was the first I had seen her new digs. She has a great view, loads of land to grow stuff on, and a snow apple tree. She braved the spiders and creepy crawled to harvest these little guys and sent us home with a huge bag. These little apples average a little larger than a ping pong ball and are delish.
Since they are so small, peeling and coring can be a challenge, but I think they are perfect for a batch of apple crisp. I quartered them (with a little help from the husband), cleaned the seeds and added them to my baking pan.
Apple crisp is a great dessert that doesn’t have a ton of sugar but is still a sweet treat. It definitely doesn’t last long around here.
A lot of people have a hard time discussing where our food actually comes from. It seems the ‘ostrich in the sand’ approach at the grocery store is the norm. And this kinda scares me. Like, a lot. I’m not a crazy ‘doomsday prepper’ (partly because I see a lot of processed scary foods in their bunkers) but believe in being as proactive as possible when it comes to what I put in my mouth. This is not to say I don’t eat junk food occasionally, and it has been a long process to switch our household to a more self sustaining system, but it’s all been worth it. Piece of mind is an amazing thing.
A few weeks ago we invested in a side of local, grass-fed, yearling beef. What does that even mean? A side is half of the cow, directly down the middle. Grass-fed is the new hot way to eat beef, and folks who are used to the feedlot farmed beef at the store may not like it. Why? Because these cows grow slower at a more natural pace, have less fat and just taste fresh. Feedlot cows are fed corn and other grains mixed in silage that they are actually unable to digest properly. In a nutshell: the food to fatten them up for us makes them sick – but they are led to slaughter before they feel the full effect (or shot up with drugs). Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that…..I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Anyhoo. Buying local and in bulk not only tastes a ton better, but saves you cash in the long run. You are able to tell the butcher exactly what you want. If you’re like me and struggle to make a roast that isn’t a dried out brick, you can ask for more steaks. Don’t like stew beef? Have it ground. You even get the bones (should you want them) to freeze and make stock with later. (Beef bones make amazing french onion soup). You can talk to the farmer in many cases and ask him questions about his animals. My friend Heather has even gone to farms to see how they do things (she’s a pig buying expert). Not sure you can handle a full animal or even half? Go in with a friend! Heather and I did that this last time to try this new farmer’s animals and so far we’re in love and planning our next freezer restock already.
Think you might want to give it a try? A few helpful questions to ask your friendly farmer to see if the meat is the right fit for you:
- Has the animal had grain at all? (grain adds fat to the animal, but grain too close to slaughter adds a very obvious taste to the meat which most people find to be highly undesirable. A reputable farmer will have his timing down pat.)
- When discussing the weight, is this the hanging weight of the animal or on hoof? (Hanging means it has been processed down to just half the animal, on hoof is the whole kit and caboodle.)
- How old is the animal? (A heifer has been milked, most likely for awhile, and will not be as desirable. Bulls are out – too many hormones. But a yearling cow, though smaller than a full sized cow can be either sex – the hormones in a male will not have made a difference in the meat yet.)
- When talking to your butcher be sure to ask what offal come with the package and make sure you are given the tenderloin (it’s the most desireable part and some shady butchers keep that for themselves.)
It may seem expensive at first to invest such a large amount of moolah at one time, but in the end it all works out. Your ground per pound costs more than the store, but you just scored a filet mignon and all sorts of tasty bits for cheaper, and you have far better piece of mind. And if you don’t like the idea of seeing this cow/pig/chicken in your minds eye as meat, remember that Bessie, Porky or Bawk Bawk had a far better life (almost 200% guaranteed) then the meat you find sitting on styrofoam in the meat section of your local Stop N Shop.
We don’t eat a lot of beef around our house because the whole feed lot/mass produced/unhappy/crisis of contamination thing scares me (and I honestly just feel bad for those poor cows). However, a few weeks ago we bought a side of locally raised, grassfed, yearling beef from a farmer out of Homer, Alaska. And let me tell you – it’s amazing. It just tastes, well, fresh! And not “grey” like I tend to think farm-factory beef tastes. We have steaks and roasts, and more ground than I think I’ve eaten in the last 10 years combined.
Last night we made the first batch of “americanized” beef tacos in ages and they were pretty fab.
2 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
This makes just over 1/4 cup of seasoning mix, and 1/4 is what you will need per pound of ground beef (also add 1/2 cup of water to the meat, etc, etc). Add a little math and you can make larger batches which will store well in a glass jar in the cupboard for a month or more!
The husband and I had a CSA subscription a few years ago which was great on many levels. First, fresh veggies in a box without any thought. Second, we were forcibly introduced to a lot of vegetables which we normally wouldn’t choose or necessarily know what to do with (this is both a good and a bad thing depending on how creative and/or adventurous you are). One of the first boxes contained the funny looking kohlrabi – we actually had to text photos to people to help with identification.
One of my favorite uses for the funny looking German turnip is in coleslaw, or rather kohlrabislaw. It’s super easy and tastes just as good, if not better than the standard cabbage slaw.
- Thinly slice half a large kohlrabi (or use a mandolin or shredder) into strips
- Grate a peeled carrot and thinly slice 1/4 of an onion, and chop 1/2 fresh jalapeno
- Add 2 TB white vinegar and 1/3 cup mayonnaise to the mix
- Dash of salt, pepper, cayenne and a handful of raisins
- Let sit in the fridge for 1/2 an hour and serve
I’ve never been a big coleslaw fan, but I think this is pretty darn good.