By: Mark Fike
Now that squirrel and rabbit season has ended across the U.S. many of us are staring at a freezer that has plenty of meat in it. While we all have our favorite recipes to use on various types of cuts of meat, many of us don’t have a lot of time to try new recipes that involve multiple steps.
I spent some of my military and post-military time in the South, and one thing I learned about cooking in the South, particularly in Louisiana, is that sometimes one pot is all that is needed to make a scrumptious meal.
Transfer that idea to cooking rabbit. For all of you rabbit hunters out there I have a very simple recipe that will have family members going for seconds.
Quarter one rabbit for every two people coming to supper. Or leave the rabbit whole.
Wash quarters of rabbit and remove silver skin. Put a slit through the thickest part of the back legs.
Cut up a half pound of carrots in one-inch chunks.
Slice a small onion into slivers.
Chunk red potatoes into small pieces.
Put a skim layer of vegetable oil on the bottom of a cooking pot or oven safe deep pan.
Layer the potatoes on the bottom of the pan. Season potatoes with seasoning salt. I like to use Creole seasoning.
Next, layer the carrots and sprinkle the onion slivers in. Drop a few small thin slices of butter over the carrots.
Place rabbit back leg quarters (or whole rabbit) on top of the carrots and then push down firmly to allow carrots to surround the meat.
Season the rabbit with salt/pepper or seasoning salt.
A nice twist is to season with steak seasoning.
Put forelegs and rabbit backstraps aside in the refrigerator.
Cover the pot and cook at 375 for 20 minutes.
If you quartered your rabbit, pull the pot and add the forelegs and backstraps (seasoned) to the pot and cover.
Bake until the meat is white and pulls from the bone easily with two forks.
When serving, pull the meat first then add vegetables around the meat and spoon some of the juices over the meat for flavor.
This recipe works well with squirrel too.
Fresh baked bread, cornbread or dinner rolls go very well with this meal.
Keep the meat hot for best results.
When supper is over, consider shredding the meat from the bones before refrigerating as no one wants to pick bones for a leftover meal at lunch the next day.
A side twist on the rabbit recipe for picky eaters or younger folks
A lot of times when I have a successful rabbit hunt and more than a few rabbits are put in the bag, I plan ahead and set aside all of the rabbit backstraps for times when I have company or guests that may not be well versed in eating wild game.
Rabbit straps are the boneless portions of the best meat on the rabbit.
They are no fuss portions, easy to cook and easy to eat and they are delicious!
When you have at least 2-3 backstraps (vacuum seal them for best results) per person put aside in the freezer, remove, thaw and heat up a skillet or pan.
Many younger folks like to eat fried food.
This requires the cook to prepare a small container of cornmeal with some seasoning salt (Creole, Lawry’s, or steak seasoning all work well) mixed in to taste.
One can dip the straps in egg and then into the breading and then fry the meat until it is white and pulls apart, or the rabbit can simply be seasoned with seasoning salt and baked in a small pan or even lightly fried with just enough oil in the pan to keep it from sticking.
Cover either for best results to enjoy moist meat.