Roast rabbit is a great, lean protein alternative to beef or even chicken.
A lot of people I know from Europe or Canada have never tasted rabbit meat. They often consider rabbits to be merely fluffy, cute animals that people keep as pets. Where I come from, however, rabbits are food. In fact, rabbits have long been a part of human cuisine for centuries and they are probably one of the healthiest, leanest sources of protein out there.
Before you get all upset about eating cute, fluffy rabbits, I would like to just clarify that rabbits are a. not going extinct any time soon (they reproduce like, well, rabbits), b. are small enough to raise almost anywhere, c. don’t generate as much methane or other pollutants as bigger animals such as cows and d. are packed with lean, healthy protein.
If you ask me what rabbit tastes like, I’ll say it tastes like chicken. No, seriously, it really does taste a lot like white-meat chicken or turkey meat and if handled incorrectly rabbit meat can be a bit dry and spongy. But, if you treat it well and cook it well, it can be truly magical.
In Egypt, where I grew up, rabbits are a staple, but unfortunately people tend to boil them until they disintegrate into spongy, tasteless meat and then fry them, which I find ruins the delicate flavour of rabbit meat.
My husband, who grew up in Denmark, had never tasted rabbit until I suggested we buy some and I make it for him. As usual, he looked at it with suspicion at first, examining the rabbit leg closely and picking at it with his fork and knife until he mustered the courage to take a bite. His eyes grew wide and he said, “Mmmm….this is actually really good!” I beamed with pride and joy.
You want to marinate and tenderise rabbit meat prior to cooking, especially if you’re using dry heat like an oven or grill. I used a buttermilk marinade with a nice mix of spices and soaked the meat in it overnight. You can vary this recipe as you like, especially the spice mix, but I do recommend the basic buttermilk marinade to ensure tender, delicious meat. In future, I may post variations on this recipe using different marinades and spices.
- Two rabbit hind legs, these are the bigger, meatier legs of the rabbit.
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons Jamaican jerk spice mix, either homemade or store bought. For a homemade recipe, stay tuned for my jerk seasoning recipe coming soon!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Small pinch of salt
- 2 cloves of minced or finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 medium russet potato, chopped into medium sized chunks (optional)
- Mix the jerk seasoning, buttermilk, salt, garlic, maple syrup or honey, and olive oil in a large bowl
- Dip the rabbit legs in the marinade and cover with marinade thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.
- Brush some olive oil on the bottom of a roasting pan, add the rabbit legs and potatoes. Drizzle some extra oil on the meat and potatoes. Roast at 370 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.
- Turn on your oven’s broiler at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for another 5 minutes or until the top of the rabbit legs is nice and brown.
- Let rest for 5 minutes, serve with salad or roast potatoes.
Have you ever tried eating or cooking rabbit? How did you make it and did you like it? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments.
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