There are a number of factors that make rabbit a highly rated type of white meat but at the same time also mean the cooking process is a little complicated.
Rabbit meat is nourishing and easy to digest. It’s bursting with ideal nutritional properties for a healthy diet and contains 120 kcal to 160 kcal per 100 g. It’s also extremely low in cholesterol and packed with vitamins (especially B vitamins), not to mention minerals such as iron, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. Suitable for people of all ages, it’s highly recommended for weaning babies because it’s a hypoallergenic food. This is all great, but you need to be careful because the very fact that it’s so lean can cause problems when you’re cooking it!
In addition, there’s a distinctive gamey flavour to it, especially in adult rabbits. Some people are very fond of it, while others are much less keen on the taste.
Therefore, we’ve put together three little rabbit tips for you.
First: get rid of the gamey flavour.
Take a whole or chopped rabbit, then choose one of these two methods: either soak it in a mixture of water and vinegar for 30 minutes, or marinate it overnight in a mixture of 1 cup of white wine, 1 cup of vinegar and 1 finely chopped shallot. We prefer the second option because it makes the meat even softer. Either way, remember to dry it thoroughly with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll before you cook it.
Second: the right cut.
There are countless way to cook rabbit, so it’s important to pick the right cut carefully to suit your chosen method. Roasting and stewing are both perfect for whole rabbits. If you’re using pieces, the front half – which has less meat on it – is good for stewing. The rear half – with the end of the back and the legs – is great for roasting. The saddle or loin (the nice, meaty part in the middle) is perfect for roasting, cutting into slices and frying, or stuffing.
Third: stop it from getting tough.
It’s essential to get the cooking times right, because the meat is so lean. For example, a medium-sized rabbit will take an hour to cook in an oven at 180°C. A large one will take a little longer, but never more than an hour and a half. If you chop the meat into pieces and fry them in a pan, they will burn on the outside and still be raw in the middle if the heat of the hob is too high. Meanwhile, if it is too low then the meat will boil and lose its flavour. Generally speaking, the meat should be cooked at a medium heat for approximately 40 to 45 minutes. If you are stewing it, you should first lightly brown it in a frying pan, then cook it for no more than 45 minutes. If the recipe requires you to cook it in the oven, we recommend browning it in a frying pan beforehand so that a thin crust forms. It will keep the liquids inside and help to make the meat juicy.
Now that we’ve given you our rabbit cooking tips, let’s take a look at the recipe that’s been exclusively created for us by chef Stefano Polato, with a special ingredient: coffee flavouring.
½ kg of rabbit meat cut into pieces
1 sprig of rosemary
1 clove of garlic
4-5 bay leaves
½ a cup of dry white wine
1 espresso cup of Manuel coffee
1 stalk of celery
50 g of capers
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Wholemeal wheat flour
Dust the pieces of rabbit meat in the flour. Pour the oil into a saucepan with high sides and a heavy bottom. Fry the rabbit in the oil until it’s nicely browned, add the wine and wait until it’s all evaporated, then add the garlic clove (whole), bay leaves, rosemary and capers, along with the vegetables (having first chopped them into large pieces). Soak it all with the coffee and then cover it with the broth.
Leave it to cook over a very low heat for at least 40 minutes, with the saucepan lid on. Check from time to time that the rabbit is not getting too dry. Add more vegetable broth if necessary. When it’s ready, add salt and pepper to taste.
For this recipe, we used Manuel Caffè Equo Organic, a certified ORGANIC and FAIRTRADE blend with aromatic notes of chocolate and nuts. You can find it in our online shop.
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