Rabbit is relatively lean meat and not expensive. The animals multiply fast and a lot because they have many natural enemies and feature on the menu of various wild animals and birds of prey.
Man has also been catching rabbit for centuries. It easily falls prey to traps and can be blinded with strong lights, and many poor peasant people have eaten rabbit and made recipes with the animal.
The domestication is relatively recent. Rabbits were raised in cages for food and their fur. In France, the “lapin de Garenne” is the main race and the name refers to the wild rabbit running in the fields. Lapin de Clapier is a domestically raised rabbit (clapier is the name of the cage) while most rabbits are now raised in large quantities on industrialised farms.
According to Compassion In World Farming (CIWF), 37 million rabbits are raised industrially in France per year. Often they are kept in cages that are too small. CIWF recommends buying “label rouge” rabbit.
There are many recipes with rabbit. Rabbit with mustard is spicy, rabbit with tarragon has a delicate taste (sometimes the mustard and tarragon are combined) and there are many other versions of cooked rabbit with a creamy sauce. But cream is also fat.
If you cook the rabbit in liquid, it is less fat. Add prunes and you have a tasty, healthy, low-fat meal that also stimulates the bowels.
Here I used cider for the liquid.
- One rabbit
- Two onions
- 200 grams of dried prunes
- 150 grams of ham cubes
- A bottle of cider
- 20 grams of butter
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the rabbit in pieces, set aside the liver and kidney (some people also eat the heart and lungs)
- Finely chop the onions.
- Melt the butter in an iron casserole and add the onion and ham.
- Brown the rabbit pieces for 15 minutes, turning regularly. If the casserole is too small to contain all the pieces of rabbit on one layer, you may have to brown some of the pieces in turns.
- When all the pieces have browned, add most of the cider, put a lid on the casserole and cook for 30 minutes.
- After that time, turn the pieces, check the level of liquid and add cider (or water or stock) as well as the prunes. Meanwhile fry the innards in butter and add to the casserole.
- Cook for another 15 to 30 minutes until the meat is tender.
- Check for salt and pepper.