Slow cooked in a crock pot, rabbit meat turns tender, juicy and succulent. In this very simple recipe, adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good, rabbit is seasoned with salt, pepper, onions, garlic, bay leaves, soy sauce, and cloves to bring out its natural delicate flavor. The sauce is thickened to the consistency of gravy with some all-purpose flour. This recipe makes a simple feast and turns an ordinary evening into a special occasion. Enjoy this dish paired with a full-bodied red wine like Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Barbera.
A healthy alternative to chicken or turkey, rabbit is a lean all white meat that has only 795 calories per pound. It has the lowest percentage of fat of any meat but with a high percentage of protein. A staple in many European countries and in parts of Asia and Australia, rabbit has gained popularity in the United States and Canada in recent years.
If you are cooking with wild rabbit, which is leaner than domestic rabbit, you can reduce the gamey taste by soaking the rabbit meat in salty water and placing it in the refrigerator overnight. As a rule, the younger the rabbit, the more tender the meat. Domestic rabbit tends to have a subtler flavor and is more likely to be tender than wild rabbit since its movements are restricted and their muscles have not been fully developed.
Rabbit sold in the market are typically graded in terms of their quality. Grade A rabbit meat is the highest quality, B is medium quality, and C is the lowest quality. Rabbit is also sold as either fryer or roaster. A fryer is a young rabbit that is less than 12 weeks old and weighs between 1 and 3 pounds, while a roaster is a mature rabbit over 8 months old. A fryer has a bright pink color and can be cooked like chicken while a roaster has a darker meat and can be tough, and is typically used to make stews or for braising.