Americans tend to be weird in their choice of food taboos, but of all our prejudices none seems more bizarre than the rabbit no-no. Long relished by the French as a delicacy, this glorious meat is almost universally spurned on these shores. Hardly anyone we know has tasted rabbit, and you rarely find it displayed on meat counters.
Our aversion to cooking the bunny appears to stem, not from its image as a gentle helpless Easter pet, but from the Depression, when most of us had to make do with whatever was at hand. Often this was the prolific rabbit, whose presence at table conjured up memories of breadlines and the Dust Bowl.
Nothing you can cook in the wet-clay pot will provide such a thrill of discovery. In both taste and texture, rabbit is a cross between sweetbreads and the tenderest of chicken. The bones are small, and the meat is plump, containing more protein and less fat, moisture and calories than chicken, veal, turkey, beef, lamb or pork! And the rabbit liver is, quite simply, the most delicious to be found. Sauteed in butter and bourbon whiskey and served on a cracker, rabbit liver is an incomparable hors d'oeuvre. We call it "blindfold rabbit" because, liver and all, it's a kick to serve incognito-as long as you're sure of your guests!
Presoak pot, top and bottom, in water for 15 minutes.
Saute the rabbit pieces in a saucepan with the flour, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, until brown.
Place browned rabbit in pot and cover with above ingredients.
Place covered pot in cold oven.
Set temperature at 480 degrees.
Cook for 40 minutes.
Ten minutes before completed time, remove pot from oven, pour off liquid into a saucepan.
Return pot, uncovered, for last minutes of cooking to brown rabbit. Bring liquid in saucepan to a boil and thicken with arrowroot.
© 1974 All rights reserved. Published by Echo Point.