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The rabbit and hare family is a relatively large one, which is just as well. Perhaps more weight in rabbits is shot as game than in all other species of animals combined. There is the cottontail (2 to 3 pounds), found all over the country. The swamp or marsh rabbit of the Southeast has webbed hind feet and is an excellent swimmer; it can weigh 3 pounds. The snowshoe rabbit (called varying hare because of its seasonal color changes) and the jackrabbit are also popularly hunted species (ranging from 4 to 10 pounds). The arctic, at 12 pounds, is the largest.

Rabbits are generally good eating, but they are notoriously susceptible to becoming hosts for tularemia.

Young specimens are always the best eating, although the snowshoe does not get worse with age. On the other hand, both the snowshoe and jackrabbit are a bit sinewy to start with, even at an early age. Moist cooking is the best treatment for these. Cottontails, particularly young ones, have moist white meat and are excellent Fried. They can be used in chicken and pheasant recipes.

Jacqueline E. Knigh

From: "The National Culinary Review April'94"

Although it isn't Our usual habit, This year we're eating The Easter Rabbit. Carr blames cuddly bunnies for killing the public's appetite, although the ARBA itself promotes pets as well as meat. "Probably the number-one problem we have in this country is the Peter Rabbit syndrome," he says. "So many people out there wouldn't think anything of eating chicken or beef or pork. But to eat a poor rabbit with its little nose and its big ears - how in the world can you do such a thing?" To be fair, Carr adds, rabbit can't compete yet at the supermarket. Mass- produced and mass-marketed chicken sometimes sells for less than $1 a pound, while locally grown rabbit costs at least $3. Ethnic groceries in cities like New York and San Francisco often carry imported rabbit at hamburger prices, but Carr says this inferior meat from China, Brazil and the rest of South America only hurts the reputation of all rabbit. Why does American rabbit taste better and cost more? Quality feed, Carr says. Foreign rabbits eat grass. Finally, demand for rabbit rises at the ebb of supply, making availability inconsistent. Rabbits flourish and reproduce in the summer, but most people have pigeonholed rabbit as a winter dish. "There's an old myth that rabbits shouldn't be eaten during hot months, which comes from old times when wild rabbit used to get yellow fever in the summer," says Carr. Whether from folklore or habit, people steer clear of rabbit from about May through October - which has helped put a lot of rabbit processors out of business. "The breeders breed the rabbits in the summer and the processors buy them in the fall and put them in freezers," says Carr. "They just hope they have enough to last until spring." The low visibility of rabbit in the marketplace can work to the advantage of a chef, however. "Rabbit has not really been accepted as such a common item as chicken," says Zifchak. "If somebody orders rabbit, they do it once in a while, and they're willing to pay that extra cost, I find." At lunch, when customers may balk at a higher-priced entree, Zifchak often offers rabbit as an appetizer. "It allows me to make a little more money on the individual animal," he says. Both Carr and Zifchak agree that once customers get over their squeamishness and try rabbit, they will like it. "It's just a matter of educating people that it's a great product," Carr says. In the past few decades, the growing interest in American regional cuisine has encouraged chefs to place rabbit on the menu. For instance, Louisiana chef John Folse, CEC, AAC, vice president of the ACF Central Region, regularly features rabbit at his acclaimed Cajun/Creole restaurant Lafitte's Landing and in his globe-trotting "Taste of Louisiana" demonstrations. Skilled hunters and trappers, Cajuns often made one-pot meals out of game - a tradition Folse has refined, for instance, by sauteing domestic rabbit with a brandy/demiglace/cream reduction. Even in Chicago, Zifchak was able to excite diners about rabbit. "In the late 1980s, it was not well received or well known," he says. "Only people who had experienced it, maybe in Europe, knew how it tasted - liked it, preferred it and ordered it. We had to do things in the front of the house to try to sell it - have the waiter talk about it quite a bit. Today, though, many more people have tried it, and you can put rabbit on the menu and not have to make such a big deal out of it. It will sell by itself.

Bon Appetit, Ecec.Chef Magnus Johansson


Chipotle Hasenpfeffer	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
1		Large rabbit cut into pieces	
2	tablespoons	Vegetable oil	
1		Bay leaf, crumbled	
1		Garlic clove	chopped
1		Clove (the spice)	
2	tablespoons	Bacon	diced
2		Small carrots	chopped
		Mushrooms (optional)	
1/2	cup	Vinegar (a little less if using lots of a	
		sour chipotle sauce like Bufalo)	
1 1/2	cups	Water or (1 1/4 c. water + 1/4 c. white	wine)

Chipotle sauce
1	cup	Sour cream	
1	tablespoons or more to taste Uncle Steve's Chipotle powder

Heat vegetable oil in cauce pan.  When hot, add Bay leaf, garlic clove, 
spice clove, bacon, carrots and mushrooms.  Add rabbit and saute 
until browned.

Mix Sour cream and Chipotle powder together to make sauce.

Pour solution of 1/2 cup vinegar, the chipotle sauce, and the 
water/wine over meat.  Cover pan and simmer until tender. Before
removing pan from heat, add more sour cream chipotle sauce if desired.

Serve hot with dumplings or large noodles.

I like this with about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard in the final sauce.


Hare Iliamna

Recipe By:	Angus Cameron & Judith Jones

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
10	lb	Hare (winter phase)	
		Salt & pepper	
4	tb	Lard or oil	
4	ea	Onions	
6	ea	Potatoes	
8	ea	Carrots	
1	qt	Fresh Alaskan low-bush cranberries	
		- picked after first frost	
2	cups	Pineapple	
1	ea	Apple	
1	ea	Orange	unpeeled

  * the northern hare of the Alaska peninsula (Lepus timidus) are big
  animals (7 to 10 pounds plus), but do not usually weigh as much as the
  Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) of Greenland, Ellesmere, and the Northern
  Baffin Islands. The latter may weigh up to 15 pounds. Our Lepus
  timidus is the same species as the blue hare of the Scottish
  Highlands and Scandinavia.
  This recipe would produce a fine dish if 2 snowshoe rabbits were
  substituted for the Northern hare.
  Cut hare into 1/2-pound serving pieces. Soak 24 hours in lightly
  vinegared water. Wipe dry. Salt and pepper the pieces, roll them in
  flour and brown in fat or oil in a Dutch oven, then bake at 350 F
  degrees, covered, until tender.
  Add vegetables when meat is half done (perhaps after 45 minutes to an
  hour). Remove to platter and prepare gravy from drippings.
  To make sauce, grind cranberries, pineapple, apple, and orange
  together. Sweeten to taste. Serve on the side.

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