henrion-rabbit-pair

.…in which Kitchencounterculture explores local food, locavorism, veganism, climate impacts of diet, and A MASSIVE LIST OF RABBIT RECIPES from a really great collection of cookbooks…

In my freezer are two rabbits, which a local man, H,  the getting-elderly but still a-hunting brother of a friend, had in his freezer.  For £3 each it was hardly a sale but rather an exchange.  “Cook it like a chicken,” he advised, and told me he’d cut it in seven pieces: two back legs, 2 front legs, two middle bits and a “bonnet” (the ribs).  He recommended I “casserole” it: fry the pieces in a pan with carrots and onions, then tip it in a roasting tin with gravy, or wine, or beer.

My friend, H’s brother P, said H would have hung it for a few hours after bringing it  home (probably this time with a ferret not a rifle — I didn’t think to ask but will, and will update here), then gutted it, then hung it again for a few days before skinning and putting it into parts.  These are men who’s childhoods would have been 70 years ago.  H remembers his mother Sybyl roasting rabbit very plainly, but she would never eat anything wild herself, though duck was also on the menu for these country children of mid-Wales back then.

Lots of British country children in days of yore grew up eating rabbit, sometimes hunting it themselves, often with ferrets. My mother-in-law spoke of doing this as a child in the Forest of Dean, before the war. Rabbits, however anthropomorphised by Beatrix Potter, remain a pest to gardeners.  They are also a meat one could raise “sustainably“, maybe on much the same scale that people keep hens for eggs.  Thanks to VintagePosterBlog for these beautiful pictures:

.Henrion-rabbit-book-sm P355

(Now, I recognise that I’m conflating raising animals to kill, and hunting pests.  But rabbits have a long history in Europe, with a little of both of these things happening, both as wild and kept creatures.   (Read about rabbits and medieval economy in East Anglia, for instance.).

A month ago, the writer Jeanette Winterson was the eye of a storm when she posted pictures on Twitter of cooking the rabbit she’d caught feasting too heartily in her garden, this year in which she’s seeing “a plague of rabbits”.  Here she is speaking about why this is much more humane than eating supermarket, fast food or factory meat wrapped in plastic, the normalcy around which there’s not much popular outcry.

Listening to her, I wanted to connect with my friend Hugh Warwick , who is a great fan of Winterson’s books, a long time “political vegan“ (“vague-an,” he later qualifies), and an ecologist with a great love for animals, and an interest in eco-systems and habitat fragmentation. I was so curious about his take on the brouhaha,  and then fascinated by his nuanced response.

Hugh talked about the different values that float locavorism and veganism, and how contradictions swarm both.  If he could get his head around eating roadkill , he said, to be a locavore , he would do– but was unable after so long not eating meat to take the psychological leap to do so, even if it were raised “happily” or existed as a resource of carnage and waste on the road.  For him to eat meat would be a bit like being a lapsed Catholic– still deeply inflected with teachings and guilt.

For this reason he included a recipe for Hedgehog Carbonara in his book APrickly Affair (in the USA, The Hedgehog’s Dilemma), so that roadkill will not have died in total vain.

Hugh sees the contradictions of a Vegan ecologist eating European Soya Milk or Tunisian Lentils from afar.  We are all part of a system we can’t completely escape, he said, all implicated and compromised in the purity of our values and the coherence of our arguments. To recognise this and the impossibility of black and white feels honest and the best you can do.  The best?  “To minimize the amount of crap I do to the place.”

He talked about the reaction against Winterson’s (fairly graphic) culinary representation of  rabbit as “a massive indictment on the state of British journalism.  Most people are so inured to where meat comes from, that an act of killing something yourself, in which you feel the weight of this yourself, changes the moral issue. Of course it would be obscenity to kill and not eat it,” he said, “and a massive waste of a resource which is super abundant and having an impact on the ability to grow food.  People are so disturbed by seeing the killing that they are overlooking the violence of the  industrial meat industry and the gluttony it supports.  This should be the journalistic story,” he said. To ignore the origins of your meat is cowardice, and Jeanette Winterson is brave.

—————

Meanwhile back at the proverbial ranch: my family eats meat.  Yet I’m concerned to reduce the amount we eat, as drastically as I can command, and to eat better meat, in the interest of not taking part in cruelty, in the case of factory-raised animals, and to reduce the climate changing impacts of methane, fertilizer, transport,  etc. of the meat industry.

It’s pretty clear that reducing meat consumption reduces climate impact from food.

This article has great info-graphics about Greenhouse Gas Emissions by protein, and by beef vs chicken, in terms of “enteric emissions,” feed production, manure emissions, transport of inputs , and more.  We also know that there are transport emissions and fertilizer emissions, let alone other impacts to shared ecological resources.  It’s a major thing to study, meat and environment.

Compared here is the diet of meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans.  Also from the Food Climate Resource Network is this detailed and educative “discussion paper” on “What is a Sustainable and Healthy Diet?”  And this article about reducing lamb, beef and dairy consumption.

Here are more infographics comparing impact by diet.

For me this knowledge begs questions about cooking for people who really like to eat meat, who feel their bodies kind of need it– what am I to do?  Rabbit is interesting to consider.  It’s a pest.  It’s very low impact– uses no resources, has no climate consequence to speak of.  Hmmmmm.  Maybe it’s an animal for climate conscious carnivores to eat occasionally?

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OK then what to do with those rabbits in our freezer?   I’ve catalogued, a little obsessively, rabbit recipes in my quite numerous collection of (mostly excellent) cookery books. You can see by this list that rabbits figure across a wide geography of people’s food and fancy food . I’ve annotated a little, but not much.

If you are dying to know more about a particular recipe and can’t find it on line, just ask in the comments and I’ll spell it out. (Saving myself for your enquiries.)  I think this is hypnotic list.  A dinner invitation is extended to whoever can guess the three that interest me the most. And now to offer it to thee:

Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery
Rabbit, Boiled
–Broth
–Curried
–Pie
 
Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything (a title to quibble with!)
Hasenpfeffer
 
Giuliano Bugialli, Bugialli on Pasta
Pappardelle Sul Coniglio (Tuscany)
Taliattelle alla Frantoiana / Rabbit Sauce with Olives (Umbria)
 
Penelope Casas, Delicioso: The Regional Cooking of Spain
Rabbit in Almond and Olive Sauce
–With Blackberries and Brown Sugar
–Coated with a Honey-Garlic Mayonnaise
–With Crisp Bread Bits
–Marinated in Sherry Sauce
–Paella
–In Spicy Wine and Vinegar Sauce
 
Penelope Casas, The Foods and Wines of Spain
Rabbit With Almonds and Pine Nuts
–Broiled, with aioli sauce
–in egg and Lemon Sauce
–Hunter Style
–Paella
–Pate
–Potted
–With Red Peppers and Zucchini
–In Tomato Sauce
 
Daily Telegraph, Good Fare: A Book of Wartime Recipes
Rabbit, Brown Fricasee
Curried
 
Elizabeth David A Book of Mediterranean Food
Rabbit, au coulis de lentilles
–in melokhia (soup) (North African, made with a kind of mallow (pictures here)
–pate
 
Elizabeth David, French Provincial Cooking
Rabbit Potted with Pork
–Stewed in Red Wine
 
Gilli Davies, Lamb, Leeks and Laverbread
Rabbit with Damsons
 
Anna Del Conte, The Classic Food of Northern Italy
Old Fashioned Rabbit from Umbria
Rabbit in Sweet and Sour Sauce
 
Fuchsia Dunlop, Sichuan Cookery
Rabbit With Peanuts in Hot Bean Sauce
–With Rock Sugar
–With Sichuan Pepper
 
Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt, The Gaza Kitchen
Butter Rice and Griddle Bread with Chicken or Rabbit
Basic Spiced Broth (Chicken or Rabbit Bones)
 
Jean-Noel Escudier & Peta Fuller, True Provencal & Nicoise Cooking
Bundles of Rabbt Brignolaise
Rabbit Civet
–Fried, Marseillaise
Roasted Stuffed Rabbit
 
Farmhouse Fare, Recipes from Country Housewives Collected by Farmers Weekly
Old Devonshire Rabbit Brawn
Curried Rabbit
Harvest Rabbit
Rabbit Paste
Rabbit Pie
Rabbit Pudding with Mushrooms
Somerset Rabbit
 
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The River Cottage Cookbook
Bunny Burgers
Rabbit Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce
 
Bobby Freeman, First Catch  Your Peacock
Rabbit in Lentils
–Stew
 
Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa, A Taste of Ancient Rome
“Within the section dedicated to recipes with ground meat, the Apician manual includes this curious rating: “The ground meat atties of peacock have first place, if they are fried so that they remain tender.  Those of pheasant have second place, those of rabbit third, those of chicken fourth, and those of suckling pig fifth.”  The recipe for the patties in this book includes myrtle berries, garum , pine nuts, etc….
 
Patience Gray, Honey From a Weed
Rabbit with Garlic Sauce
Rabbit with Prunes and Pinenuts
 
Jane Grigson, The Cooking of Normandy
Rabbit with Mustard Sauce
 
Jane Grigson, English Food
Boiled Wild Rabbit with Onion Sauce
–Dressed in a Casserole
English
Jugged
Scotch
Stewed
Welsh
–Wild
 
Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Rabbit with Rosemary and White Wine
 
Fergus Henderson, Nose to Tail Eating
Confit of Rabbit Leg
Rabbit in Broth
–With Garlic
Jellied Rabbit with Pea and Broad Bean Puree
Saddle of Rabbit wrapped in Fennel Twigs and Bacon
 
Madeleine Kamman, In Madeleine’s Kitchen

(I know MK had some deep feeling about being trumped in celebrity by Julia Child– I’ve learned so much from them both but lately have been really loving Madeleine.  You can read a little about this.)

Rabbit, Jellied with Vegetables
–with Juniper and Beer
–Terrine with Truffled Leeks
 
Madeleine Kamman, Savoie
Civet (this recipe she explictyly says can be used for squirrel!)
Grilled Loins of Rabbit with Tomato Mustard
 
Madeleine Kamman,  When French Women Cook
Civet  (stew) with Chartreuse
Pate with Hazelnuts and Genepi
With Shallots and Cornichons
Stewed with Walnut Sauce
 
Diana Kennedy, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
Rabbit in Chile Sauce
 
Nigella Lawson, How to Eat
Peter Rabbit in Mr McGregor’s Salad
 
Carl Legge, The Permaculture Cookbook
rather than recipes, Carl makes good suggestions to add to Paella, Lettuce and Pea Soup, and “Curries” – a sustainable, flexible approach that I like!
 
Edna Lewis, The Taste of Country Cooking
Baked Rabbit
Smothered Rabbit
 
Elisabeth Luard, European Festival Food
Rabbit Casserole Provencale
(British) Rabbit Pie
 
Elisabeth Luard, European Peasant Cookery (The Old World Kitchen in the US)
Stew (an Italian veal stew subsitution)
Rabbit with Beer and Prunes (Belgium_
Rabbit with Garlic (Spain)
 
Jennifer McGruther, The Nourished Kitchen
Rabbit Pie with Bacon and Chanterelles
 
Maxime McKendry, Seven Hundred Years of English Cooking
Spiced Creamed Rabbit (15th Century)
Rabbits Surprised (1806)
 
Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s America
Rabbit Stew with Dumplings
 
Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s Great Britain
12-Hour Rabbit Bolognese
Honey Roasted Lemon Rabbit
Sweet Leek and Rabbit Pie
 
Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s Italy
Grilled and Marinated Rabbit
Rabbit in Mixed Roast
 
Jamie Oliver, The Return of the Naked Chef
Pappardelle with Rabbit, Herbs and Cream
 
Richard Olney, Lulu’s Provencal Table
Rabbit and Carrots in Aspic
–with Mustard
–Stew
Stuffed with Prunes
 
Richard Olney, Simple French Food
Rabbit Pappiotes
Saffron Stew With Cucumbers
Sausanges
Stuffed Roast Saddle and Hindquarters
Terrine
 
Jennifer Paterson, Feast Days
Rabbit Dijonaise
–with Anchovies and Capers
 
 Marguerite Patten, 1,000 Favourite Recipes
Mustard Rabbit
Rabbit Pie
Ragout of Rabbit
 
Gary Rhodes, New British Classics
Rabbit Leg Casserole with Marjoram and Mustard
Rabbit, Pork, and Cider Potato Pie
 
Irma S Rombauer, Joy of Cooking (1975)
Braised with Onions
With Chilli Beans
Fricasee
Rabbit A La Mode
Roast Rabbit
Rabbit and Sausage Casserole
Sauteed Rabbit
 
Savarin, Real French Cooking
(in a section entitled “Rabbits and Furred Game” – includes instructions to skin and to gut)
Fricassee of Rabbit
Marengo Rabbit
Roast Rabbit
Goodwife’s Rabbit
Trompette Rabbit
Rabbits and Prunes
Potted Rabbit
Blanquette of Rabbit
Boiled Young Rabbit
Mustard Rabbit
Tartare Rabbit
Jugged Rabbit with Noodles
Saupiquet of Rabbit
Amunategui (sic) Rabbitnd Furred Game” – includes instructions to skin and to gut)
Fricassee of Rabbit
Marengo Rabbit
Roast Rabbit
Goodwife’s Rabbit
Trompette Rabbit
Rabbits and Prunes
Potted Rabbit
Blanquette of Rabbit
Boiled Young Rabbit
Mustard Rabbit
Tartare Rabbit
Jugged Rabbit with Noodles
Saupiquet of Rabbit
Amunategui (sic) Rabbit
 
Michelle Scicolone, A Fresh Taste of Italy (a book I LOVE—ask me why)
Rabbit Braised with Sweet Peppers and Garlic
–with Herbs and Olives
–with Olives and Pine Nuts
Delfina’s –
–and Sausage, Pappardelle with…
 
 Jane Sigal, Backroad Bistros, Farmhouse Fare
Rabbit in Creamy Mustard Sauce With Mushrooms
With Italian Prune Plum Sauce
Marinated in Muscadet Wine
Paul Bertoli, Chez Panisse Cooking
Rabbit Salad with Browned Shallots
 
The Silver Spoon (that Phaidon tome)
Braised Rabbit with Rosemary
Fried Rabbit
Marinated Rabbit
Rabbit “Tuna”
Rabbit and Tuna Roll
Rabbit Cacciatore
Rabbit in Cider
Rabbit in Milk
Rabbit in Olive Oil and Lemon
Rabbit in Red Wine
Rabbit in Vinegar
Rabbit Stew with Anchovies
Rabbit Stew with Tomatoes and Basil
Rabbit Stew with Walnuts
Rabbit with Bay Leaves
Rabbit with Honey and Vegetable
Rabbit with Mustard
Rabbit with Peperonata
Rabbit with Prosciutto and Polenta
Roast Rabbit
Stewed Rabbit
Stuffed Rabbit
 
Delia Smith, The Evening Standard Cookbook
Rabbit Pie
–in Red Wine
Roast Stuffed Rabbit
 
 Musia Soper, Encyclopedia of European Cookbook (1962)
Rabbit in Beer (France)
Rabbit in Cream Sauce (Scandinavia– recipe includes Soya Sauce ??? and Evaporated Milk!!!
Rabbit Paprika (Hungary)
Rabbit Paste (Czech) (reading this recipe makes me gag)
Rabbit Stew (French)
Rabbit with Prunes (Belgian)
 
Jeanne Strang, Goosefat and Garlic
Braised with Herbs and Cream
in Pork Terrine
Potted with Prunes
Stuffed
Terrine of
Wild with a Piquant Sauce
 
Alice B Toklas. The Alice B Toklas Cookbook
Rabbit with Dumplings
 
S Minwel Tibbott, Welsh Fare: A Selection of Traditional Recipes
Rabbit in Lentils
Rabbit Stew
 
Ruth Van Waerebeek, Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook
Rabbit marinated in Abbey beer with Mushrooms
Sauteed with Cherry beer and Dried Cherries
Stewed with Prunes and Beer
 
Patricia Wells, Bistro Cooking
Rabbit with Green Olives
–and Hazelnut Terrine
–with Mushrooms and Thyme, Monsieur Henny’s
–with Mustard Sauce, Cafe des Federations’
 
ed Florence White: Good Things in England
Rabbit,Baked 
—Boiled with Rice
 
Clifford Wright, A Mediterranean Feast
Rabbit Broth
Cordoban style rice with chicken, veal , pork, and…
“Poor Folks” peppered stew
Commando-Style Braised, with tomato and chocolate sauce
 
 And only one link: Chris’ Rabbit Stew to be cooked over an open fire in an enamel cauldron hung from a tripod….
 
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