Editor’s note: After we posted Creek’s article this week on how to field dress and butcher a rabbit, several of you said you’d like to know a good recipe for cooking the rabbit after you’ve sliced and diced it. Well, just as there are numerous ways to skin a cat, there are tons of great ways to cook a rabbit. But it’s hard to beat this down-home delicious recipe from Stacy Harris.
In the spring, watch for fried rabbit to appear on the menus at many high-end restaurants. It’s a real delicacy – there is a certain fineness of texture, quality, and flavor in this meat that cannot be found in any other.
Rabbits, wild or farm raised, do not seem to have a gamey flavor. The young rabbits are particularly mild, with tender, succulent meat. The older the rabbit, the darker the meat and the stronger the flavor becomes. Chefs will use young rabbit meat as they would use chicken meat, and the older rabbit meat as if it were beef.
Rabbit pairs beautifully with something sweet such as savory waffles with maple syrup. Many restaurants will serve sweet peas, carrots, or sweet potatoes with rabbit to add that sweetness to the dish.
This particular dish is at least 3 of my children’s absolute favorite meal. They hunt rabbits particularly for this recipe. You will understand once you try it.
If you don’t want to hunt your own rabbit, you can find rabbit in some specialty health grocery stores, and some Publix stores — usually in the freezer section.
Fried Rabbit and Sage Buttermilk Waffles
Waffles and fried chicken have been a tradition in my household as long as I can remember. I altered my grandmother’s recipe of fried chicken by using fried rabbit, and I think that I have a new favorite! Rabbit has a nice mild, earthy flavor, and cooked in this way, it is very tender. The waffles are tender too, with a little crunch on the outside. With the addition of the Dijon mustard, the waffles pair perfectly with the slight sweetness of the rabbit and maple syrup.
* 1 rabbit, quartered and deboned
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 ½ tablespoons paprika
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 3 cups of vegetable oil for frying
* Soak rabbit meat in buttermilk overnight in a baking dish or zip-top bag.
* Combine flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.
* Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and set aside.
* Remove rabbit and discard buttermilk. Season rabbit with a few shakes of Tabasco. Dredge rabbit in flour mixture.
* Pour oil in skillet to a depth of about ¾ inch. Oil should reach 350 degrees. Fry the rabbit in batches, about 5 minutes on one side, then turn and fry for 3-4 minutes on the other side. Move the rabbit to the wire rack on the baking sheet and let rest. To keep warm while making the waffles, place in a 200-degree oven. Serve with sage waffles (below) and maple syrup.
Sage Buttermilk Waffles
* 1 ¾ cups flour
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
* ½ teaspoon baking soda
* ½ teaspoon salt
* 2 cups buttermilk
* 1 tablespoon sage
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 2 eggs
* 8 tablespoons butter, melted
* In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt.
* In another medium-sized bowl, whisk buttermilk, sage, mustard, and eggs.
* Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk melted butter into mixture.
* Heat an oiled waffle iron and pour batter onto the griddle. Cook until crisped and golden brown. You will know it is ready when steam stops releasing from your waffle iron. Transfer the waffle to a serving plate and repeat with remaining batter. To keep waffles warm, place them in a 200-degree oven until ready to use.