Aside from it’s significant religious importance to many people, Easter is usually also a time for the Easter Bunny and big family dinners—usually lamb or ham. We’ve done a might tasty Smoked Burgundy Ham quite a few times, but last year, we were hosting our friends from the Rustic Garden Bistro for an Easter-themed dinner, so I wanted to think a bit outside the box, and serve the Easter Bunny for dinner! I remembered that a friend had told me that she used to regularly cook rabbit for her kids for Easter Dinner, and not only did they (and their friends at school) get a kick out of it, but it was mighty tasty, as well.
I took some time looking for a good rabbit recipe that would meet the high standards of our guests, and when I stumbled across a “Kentucky Rabbit” recipe that featured bourbon (we like cooking with bourbon…), I was sold!
While I had hunted rabbit in my youth in the Midwest, I figured it would be frowned upon if I shot a couple at rabbit-ridden Chino Hills State Park, which is almost in our backyard. So much like I had to decide against getting my own goose for Christmas dinner, I decided I should probably just get my rabbit the weenie way as well. I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be to find rabbit in our urban Southern California grocery stores, but it turned out to be surprisingly easy, and almost all my favorites had rabbit in the frozen section, nicely cleaned and separated into tasty little pieces!
Served with our bacon sauteed Brussel’s sprouts and wild rice with mushrooms and onions, it was a big hit at our dinner party, and we plan to make it for our own kids this year for Easter. Our kids are used to this sort of twisted humor in our family, but I’m looking forward to hearing the reactions from their friends!
In case you didn’t know, rabbit meat is actually quite lean, and looks and tastes (cliche’ alert!) a lot like chicken. This recipe would probably actually work quite well with chicken if you couldn’t find rabbit, or it was too expensive, or it just made you squeamish, but I promise that it is quite tasty, and would be good for any meal any time of year–It’s just funnier for Easter…
- 2-3 Pounds rabbit, cut in pieces
- 1+ Tsp salt (I used Creole Seasoning)
- ¼ Cup flour
- ½ Cup butter
- ½ Cup green onion, diced
- ¼ Cup parsley, minced
- 2 Tbsp bourbon, warmed
- 1 Pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 Tbsp mustard (I used whole grain mustard)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Cups light cream
- 3 Egg yolks, lightly beaten
- Pre-heat oven to 375.
- Sprinkle rabbit all over with salt or seasoned salt or Creole seasoning.
- Coat with flour, shake off excess.
- Melt 5 Tbsp butter in large skillet and saute until browned.
- Transfer rabbit to 4 qt (or 9 X 13) casserole.
- Add bourbon and remaining butter to pan juices and cook onion, parsley, and mushrooms until mushrooms are tender.
- Blend in mustard, cream, and lemon juice, and bring just barely to a boil.
- Pour mixture over rabbit in casserole dish.
- Cover and bake about 50 minutes (20 minutes per pound) in oven.
- Remove casserole dish from oven, and drain liquid back into skillet.
- Boil liquid in skillet, then blend ½ cup hot liquid slowly into egg yolks, and return mixture to pan.
- Cook over low heat, stirring until thickened.
- Pour back over rabbit in casserole dish, and serve!