Rabbit: Cookery

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About
Domestic rabbits are killed for the table at about the age of three months. A young rabbit has ears which tear easily, and sharp teeth and claws. They require no hanging, and the meat is pale and tender; that of does (females) is considered better than that of bucks (males).

A marinade is sometimes used, e.g. for wild and older animals, which are less tender and have a stronger flavour. Barding (see bard) or larding helps to keep the flesh moist during roasting.

Among the ingredients which are considered fitting to go with rabbits are mustard (widely used) and prunes (in Belgium and France). In general, recipes for rabbit are similar to those for chicken and reflect the various styles of national and regional cuisines (thus casseroles with ham, wine, brandy, and garlic in Spain and Portugal; and the use of sour cream sauces in C. and E. Europe). In S. America, where rabbits have superseded indigenous animals such as agouti or paca, they appear with e.g. peppers and coconut (Colombia) or peanut sauce (Chile) or other locally popular accompaniments.