Cooking the Easter Bunny

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KILL IT WITH FIRE.
If your kids haven't already figured out that there's no Easter Bunny, here's an easy way to teach them a valuable lesson while also scarring them for life: Cook and serve rabbit this year for Easter. Decorate with Easter eggs for effect.

This is absolutely the kind of thing my own parents would have done to me as a child. I honestly can't believe my mother didn't, really; she gets a lot of credit for crafting beautiful Easter baskets instead each year. There was the time, on the other hand, that she baked rice into a meatloaf and convinced me that there had been worms in the meat.

It was years before I could eat meatloaf again.

So what I'm saying here is that while cooking a rabbit for Easter might scar your children, it will also give them a great story to tell some day.

Besides, Easter bunnies are creepy. And braised rabbit is delicious. So here's how to do it.

rabbitspit.jpg
You can cook your rabbit on a spit for maximum terror effect, but it's kind of messy and time-consuming.
The simplest (and, in my opinion, best) way to enjoy rabbit is by braising it. I love this recipe from The Hungry Frenchman and its straightforward, rustic results. You'll want to make sure to ask your butcher to cut the rabbit into at least six pieces for this recipe, which is easily accomplished.

Alternately, for something with a brighter flavor and more of a spring-time feel to it (despite the presence of cool weather ingredients like oranges and fennel), try this recipe for honey-roasted rabbit from The Food Network. This recipe certainly takes longer, but is more presentable for guests if you're having a big Easter dinner.

What I don't recommend for Easter is killing your own rabbit out in the wild and eating it. Texas rabbits are cute and all, but most wild rabbits also carry a lot of worms. And, like the meatloaf, there's no getting the worms out -- even with cooking.

Instead, head down to your local butcher. Central Market has a limited supply of rabbit in right now (what, it's not popular around Easter time?) for $10.99 a pound. But my old favorite B&W Meat Market has rabbit in right now for only $4.99 a pound, and there's plenty to go around.

Happy Easter.



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31 comments
george999
george999

So wild rabbit has worms. Your point is? I mean sure I would hope people cook it well but not because of worms. Almost all wild animals are at risk of containing some parasite or another with many being microscopic. That's why it should be well cooked. Most worms are in the intestines and it's not like you are going to see or taste any that might be in the muscles.

For someone who thinks it is little ridiculous for people to be opposed to eating rabbits since some people keep them as pets, you seem to have your own set of blinders equally not based on rationality.

Redthechef
Redthechef

I don't see rabbits as Thumper characters either. I've changed too many bunny litter boxes for that...they make great pets: smart, funny, playful and affectionate and bit high maintenance and vet bills for common diseases such as e.cunniculi. Slaughtering an animal to eat regarded as a pet is appalling. We're are better people than that.....professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Marc Bekoff Phd said to "regard animals as fellow sentient, emotional beings, is to recognize the cruelty that too often defines our relationship with them, and to change that by acting compassionately on their behalf."

I'm never surprised by sarcastic comments on the internet, but I'm totally non-plussed that the article author actually made a comment that was over the top antagonistic...the murder comment. Its immature, totally undermines credibility and professionalism.

Connie
Connie

This article is grossly offensive to the millions of people who have rabbits as pets in the United States. (More than 1.4 million households keep rabbits as pets - just Petfinders.com's count) They are the third most popular pet in the USA behind cats and dogs. This isn't some problem with Thumper, a cartoon character, as the rabbit meat producers like to suggest. It is a problem with the growing number of people who know these animals as pets. Plus, the so called "meat" rabbits such as the New Zealand Whites, Californians, Harlequins, etc. make some of the best pets. I know - I have had them as pets myself and adopted them out to good homes. People in this country don't eat their pets and animals that could be pets (designated as "meat rabbits" or not). They are all the same and there is no difference. Any baby bunny from a meat producing facility could be a great pet - any of them. Further, "Commercial rabbit industry experts believe that USDA inspected rabbit slaughter represents only twenty to twenty-five percent of the total market for rabbit meat." In other words, there's a 75% chance the rabbit meat you plan to eat has not been inspected! No doubt there are already issues with other meats in this country being frequently recalled for e-coli, etc. Now they want to add rabbits to the issue. What's ironic is the big money in rabbits is in rabbits as pets....it dwarfs the rabbit meat industry. There are places in this world, particularly in some areas of Asian countries where dogs and cats are consumed as food. We don't eat cats and dogs in this country because of cartoon images in the movies or on TV - we know them for what they are - companion animals. Did you know rabbits purr (softly grinding their teeth when petted), can be littered box trained, clicker trained like dogs, enjoy affection, bond with their owners for life and other animals, and can be cage free in a bunny-proofed home. We don't poach Poodles or simmer Siamese cats for food. As omniovores there is no reason to braise a bunny. There are other choices - choices that are not an increasingly popular pet. Rabbits are butchered for meat at 7 weeks old before they are weaned at 8 weeks - is this the new veal? There is nothing cartoonish about eating a baby rabbit - it is grotesque and repulsive to the millions of us who know them as pets.

SirRon
SirRon

Damnit Shilcutt.

trisch
trisch

Easter Bunny costumes are terrifying. Creepier than clowns. Worse than Santa Clause. Why do we terrify the children every time we celebrate a milestone in Jesus's life?

Andy Moen
Andy Moen

After reading your comments, you want other people to respect your opinions and yet you don't respect theirs - they disagreed originally based on their experiences with rabbits as pets and their popularity as pets. You want to bait people who have rabbits as pets by just blathering on about eating animals they see as intelligent, fun and affectionate. I hope you are satisfied with yourself. You should be ashamed . . . really, really ashamed. If you are going to eat a rabbit this weekend in protest to the pet owners now and because "it is tasty." that's your business. But you make it other people's business by publishing it so loudly. Just because you have the right doesn't make it right - tell that to the dogs in China.

AwesomeWorkK
AwesomeWorkK

We raised cows, sheep, goats, pigg, chickens, rabbits, etc. We even raised...a huge vegetable garden, on our ranch growing up. We had a "milk cow", and drank...heaven forbid, unpasteurized milk and made butter and cottage cheese, and some killer ice cream. The dogs and cats were pets, the "other pets" became dinner. Such is the life cycle, I and my siblings learned early on. We caught fish to cook, kept the deer population down. Living off the land, raising our own "organic", hormone-free meat and vegetable sources.

Are rabbits cool pets? Yes. They are also, another white meat. To each their own, I don't judge. I also don't eat horse, cat or dog meat, at least not knowingly. Well toss hamsters, gerbils and other rodentia in there too (Cuy).

Hunter
Hunter

Before you scold Katharine for saying not to eat wild rabbits due to the risk of worms/parasites, perhaps you need to do a little research...

I was raised by and around (and am married to) men who hunt...old timers. My father, my grandfather, and extended family and their friends introduced me to hunting. The rule of thumb they always followed, and instilled in me, is to NEVER hunt wild game for food before the first frost. By waiting until the first frost, you have allowed Mother Nature to properly kill the worms and vermin that live in and on the game you plan on harvesting!

If you were to hunt wild rabbit, you would notice if you shoot a few of them, they will have a large parasite around the neck region.You can actually mash it and a larvae will squeeze out along with a lot of pus. They are extremely unappetizing to eat during the summer. Much like oysters, there has always been a saying that you should not shoot a rabbit to eat in any month that did not have an "R" in it. Because that is when the parasites were in the rabbits. That was the summer month of May through August.

LowNSlow
LowNSlow

Yawwnnnn. Are you done now? They aren't considered pets to me. They are considered the main course.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

It's also the name of an album, a slogan on a t-shirt and more. But hey! Why not just be willfully offended by everything.

H_e_x
H_e_x

What one culture considers a pet, another considers it dinner. Don't be so ethnocentric about food. The world does not revolve around you and your culture.

Pnutty
Pnutty

Maybe you can ask the Easter bunny to leave you a sense of humor nestled somewhere in between your Reese's Peanut Butter eggs and Jelly Bellies. Or, you could go hunt for one under your shubbery on Sunday morning. Either way....please get one.

Lily
Lily

lol. i have a pet bunny rabbit and when she dies, i will probably eat her.

WHAAAA
WHAAAA

If it offends you, don't look at it.

EdT.
EdT.

I think rabbit stew is downright tasty. In fact, I think I'll make me a bowl!

~EdT.

BertWeimmanTVFM
BertWeimmanTVFM

I agree and would go one step further:: to eat beef is even worse. Growing up as a kid in Paris, KY, my family had cattle as pets, and they occupied the farm we inhabited. They are wonderfully affectionate animals, loving, anoimated by kind noises and expressions. As such, more ought to be kept as pets, just as rabbits are.And few if any ought not to be eaten.

JB
JB

Do you have to sew the eggs to your rabbits' paws or do they just instinctively know how to carry eggs?

MeaganMt
MeaganMt

...because Easter, like Christmas, is based on a pagan tradition?

Waving2me
Waving2me

Did anyone here read the article yesterday on MSNBC about the 500+ dogs were rescued in China on their way to a slaughterhouse as food. Now you may make fun of the lady above, but she has a point. Rabbits are pets in millions of households. They are as horrified by this article as I was horrified by the article on the dogs for dinner yesterday. As someone who has worked in animal rescue, I will never underestimate the cruelty that can be inflicted on animals nor the devoted compassion too few people show to animals no matter what kind. I don't underestimate the sarcasm people will dish out, too,

Connie
Connie

I don't believe in the Easter Rabbit - Not one bit. Anyone who rescues rabbits after the impulse buying frenzy at Easter when so many rabbits are relinquished to shelters and abandoned would rather rabbits weren't part of Easter. Obvious.

Guest
Guest

Nope, but thanks for playing, though.

Easter bunnies are linked with ancient pagan fertility cults, true. But Easter of course is linked directly to the Jewish Passover. Eggs became a symbol of rebirth, and thus of the Resurrection itself.

And good grief that bankrobber Easter bunny pic is disturbing. Yikes.

MindYourOwnBusiness
MindYourOwnBusiness

If you don't believe rabbits should be eaten don't eat one. We do. Don't like it? Tough. You can't always get your way in life.

Wurlitzer
Wurlitzer

Sigh Back! Wow. You are right Katharine - meat choices Are subjective. And, a few million people in China who eat dog and cat will agree with you! You are in good company.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

*sigh*

Considering that I've rescued every pet I've ever owned from CAP and the Humane Society and that I donate to both places on a regular basis, I wouldn't consider myself cruel to animals. I love animals.

However, I also recognize that people eat animals. Myself included. And what may be horrifying to one culture is simply food to another. What we have decided is "food-worthy" or not is totally subjective and has no biological basis. It's an entirely societal construct:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/...

I'm opposed to cruel factory farming practices and wanton cruelty to animals overall. But opposed to eating something just because someone finds it cute? Or keeps one as a pet? Nope. :)

MeaganMt
MeaganMt

Sorry, pagan might be misleading. Let me clarify, using a far more credible version: A man, born of a virgin, who was himself divine, a god and the son of god simultaneously, suffered, died, and was entombed. Then he came back to life and rose into the heavens to be with his father. Leaving a few eggs behind that were thought to be magical.

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