A feast of rabbit
Last Tuesday a friend of mine arrived at my apartment around 10 a.m., his car loaded down with pork. My friend, an upstart farmer who lives in Schoharie, was delivering the half pig I ordered last year, along with two co-investors. He deposited three boxes of pork on my living room floor, which I then transferred into my refrigerator and freezer: locally raised, locally butchered hams, pork chops, roasts, sausages and pork belly. It was truly a sight to behold.
I have yet to eat any of the pork, so I can’t attest to how good it is. It certainly looks good, and I’m eager to thaw some of it out and sample it. But I can tell you how much I enjoyed eating rabbit, because the farmer also included (per my request) a rabbit with my order. The rabbit, which came packed tightly in a plastic bag, was a gift for a friend who likes to cook unusual things (we ate frog not too long ago, which I wrote about here), and I gave him the rabbit with the understanding that we would eat it together.
My friend did a little research, and found two interesting recipes in “I Hear America Cooking: The Cooks, Regions and Recipes of American Regional Cuisine,” cookbook filled with historical asides and personal insights. After some discussion, we settled on rabbit with peanut sauce.
Other than obtaining the rabbit, I had nothing to do with putting together this dish, though I was certainly looking forward to eating it. On Sunday, my friend came over to watch the Oscars, and we filled our plates with rabbit and vegetables. I had never eaten rabbit before, and I was curious.
And ... it was quite good. Rabbit is lean and tastes a lot like turkey. I really liked it off the bone; it was especially tasty when coated with peanut sauce. The vegetables — potatoes, broccoli, turnips, carrots — also went well with peanut sauce. Which makes me wonder why more recipes don’t call for a peanut sauce. After dinner, we ate chocolate ice cream, and I thought, “I bet this would taste pretty good with peanut sauce, too.”
Anyway, back to the rabbit: What I liked most about it was how tender — almost sweet — it was. And it wasn’t at all gamy. Rabbit also appears to be fairly healthy: dense in protein, low in calories and rich in minerals such as iron.
In all likelihood, I will eat rabbit again. Rabbit might not be available in most grocery stores, but it is available from farmers like my friend and through other providers; the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, just a few blocks in my apartment, raises and sells rabbits.
What seems certain is that I’ll be eating more entrees enlivened by peanut sauces. And I’m looking forward to it.
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