Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cookbook: Stew of Evil Rabbit

Of late, while I was gone in La Douce France, I was asked by my good old friend Nick Shay Deutsch, gourmet oboist from Leipzig, to post my recipe for stewed rabbit. Now usually I would not readily do so, since I prefer to keep my cook blog low on meat, as I explained in the post on Chicken Alfredo Landa of June 24 last. In this case, however, I will gladly oblige, because… I know rabbits. And therefore I do not mind eating them at all.

Rabbits, dear reader, are not the friendly fuzzy cuddly little things that you think they are. Forget about Watership Down and Beatrix Potter and Bambi’s Stamper. Rabbits are nasty brutes with a bad attitude and a worse character. They are rats in angora clothing, pests who turn lush green valleys into arid waste lands and fertile soil into a Gruyère cheese paved with turds. A world without rabbits would be a better world. Unfortunately the oversexed buggers reproduce at such tremendous speeds that this must forever remain but a dream of the righteous. Just go ask the poor Australians…

I learned all this the hard way when many eons ago, me and Sabine, my Belgian girlfriend from Malines, bought ourselves a Dwarf Lop Eared Rabbit as a pet. Ah, yes, the apocalyptical things young lovers do! But how do these things work? We were head-over-heels in love (and I confess some other parts of our mutual anatomies were likewise involved…). The whole world belonged to us, and it was a beautiful world, full of happiness, and promise, and butterflies, and spring flowers! Nothing in our lives could ever go wrong again! We would conquer the universe and become immortal!

Until that one day when we passed a pet shop, and perceived, in the shop window, a litter of friendly, fussy, cuddly little cottontails advertised as Dwarf Lop Ear Rabbits. I guess I ought to have known something was not altogether kosher when I saw the ludicrously low price the shop asked for these charming little animals. But a man very much in love acts on his instincts and impulses… Sabine looked into my eyes, I into hers… There were tears of joy in all four of them… And tiny pictures of soft bunnies floated around in those tears. And so we went in and bought a cute little Dwarf Lop Ear Rabbit, to keep in the house as a pet.

What can be wrong with that? you may ask. A nice little dwarf rabbit that you can hold in the hollow of your hand, that may sleep in an old woollen hat the size of a bird’s nest, that you may carry anywhere in your coat pocket feeding it tiny lettuce leaves and miniature carrots… Is that not marvellous?

Well, what was wrong with it, is that I had not paid enough attention in biology class when young (yes, reader, the ominous words must be spoken: there are indeed some subjects of which Alfred B. Mittington knows less than one would expect from a homo universalis such as he…) Consequently, I was unaware that ‘dwarf’ in ‘Dwarf Lop Eared Rabbit’ is only a relative term. Nor did I know that the average ‘normal sized’ Lop Eared Rabbit is a giant, a monster, a behemoth of Brobdingnag proportions! These awful beasts grow to over a foot and a half, and often weight over 20 pounds. Just look at this here picture of a gentleman who proudly grew a prize winning specimen!

Consequently my ‘dwarf’ rabbit turned out to be no dwarf at all, but merely dwarfish in comparison with Goliath. The bugger grew, and grew, and grew until it was bigger than your average sized hare. Needless to say, his ego was of corresponding monstrosity. He ate like a garbage can, but if you reached into his den to get the saucer, he would bite the hand that fed him. Whenever he saw a chance, he’d escape from the pen, drop sticky turds all over the carpet, ravish our plants, and wet our bed (yes, it was this that triggered the gradual disillusion in our pristine love life, which in the long run made Sabine leave me for a wholesale Frites merchant from Louvain…). If you let anything linger on the floor, the cleptocreep would make off with it and carry it to his liar. Spoons, shoehorns, slide rules, why: even the silver fountain pen which Winston gave me for my 30th birthday! Soon nothing in the house was safe no more. Havoc was wrecked on electrical wire. Precious and expensive grammars of Hindi and the Indus Script were shredded by incisors and digging nails. We once found a wounded and traumatised brown rat, hiding inside the liquor cabinet, and had to spend some 30,000 Belgian Franks to nurse it back to health again…

The Dwarf Lop of Malines
Note the terrified look in the eyes of that poor dog!

Then true tragedy struck. For Sinterklaas (the Dutch and Flemish version of Christmas) the daughter of our across-the-hall neighbour asked for, and unfortunately received, a small rabbit. A tiny doe of immaculate innocence. A week later, a door was left open. A shadow rushing through was not perceived. A shriek of ravished innocence was only recognized too late. Yes: with the speed of light, the horrid lop eared male pig chauvinist had raped the tiny little doe! Three times is ten seconds. She became pregnant. And died three weeks later because the fruits of his crime were too big for her frail little body…

It was then, as Christmas approached, that I bought a pot of mustard, a pack of apricots, and a hatchet, and invented the present recipe, dear reader. For ever since I have been of the opinion that the only good rabbit is a dead rabbit. Ever since I have eaten them with gusto, and I will gladly help my dear readers of taste and sophistication to do the same. Perhaps we may still liberate the world of this flaw in Creation by means of the frying pan. After all: we succeeded with the Dodo, didn’t we? And those were sturdy buggers too.

So here goes for the recipe:

The only good rabbit is a dead rabbit

Get a nice plump rabbit from your butcher’s (preferably a black and white ‘dwarf’ lop ear). If you have ever known a black and white dwarf lob eared rabbit personally, make sure to get the whole body intact and chop it up yourself. It is a most satisfactory activity for one such as you and me.

Now make a mix of mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. The proportions should be in the range of 1 spoonful of mustard on 1 of honey, with a quarter spoon of salt and pepper each thrown in. Some cumin also does not hurt, but make sure not to overdo it. Smear the pieces of dwarf lob rabbit with this mix, replace in the fridge and let it sit as long as possible, with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 24 hours.

Chop half a medium-sized onion into small pieces and fry them in a little oil and sweet butter. Add the pieces of dwarf lob ear rabbit and fry them on both sides to a nice light brown colour. If the pieces do not turn brown in the long run, toss in two or three spoonfuls of water. This will pry lose the colourful frying residue on the pan’s bottom and fix the problem.

Turn down the heat. Throw in a glass and a half of white wine or dry sherry. Add dried prunes, apricots, or raisins – or any other sort of dried fruit you fancy. Toss in one or two bay leafs if you have any. Close the pan and let the whole thing simmer for at least 1 hour. 

The longer you stew this rabbit, the better it gets. I myself usually go for 90 minutes. But do beware: the trick is to have the gravy reduced to the point where it sticks to the meat, giving it a nice shiny gloss, without the sauce ever getting burned. So keep the fire low, do check the pan regularly, and add if need be a small splash of lukewarm water at the right moment.

This dish may be served with fried ‘dwarf’ potatoes, a salad that is somewhat on the sour side, and loud hunting songs by a rowdy Australian folk group (my personal preference is ‘Run Rabbit Run’ by The Bleedin’ Mates from Brisbane).


  1. I've never had rabbit. And I never could by looking at the furry creature and then looking at the roasted version haha.

    I have had Ostrich meat before. As long as I don't have to see the live animal...


  2. Well, if you fancy eating Ostrich steak more often, just go to an Ostrich farm and get familiar with a live Ostrich. As in feeding them a piece of bread from your hand, for instance. Once you're back from the hospital and cured enough to cook again, you will feel no qualms about frying kilos of Ostrich!

    Experienced Al

  3. Oh, my dear god! And this crude and cruel wallowing in the death of an innocent, powerless bugger from someone who gets up on a pulpit each time bullfights are mentioned!


  4. Dear anonymous denouncer,

    You do not seem to get the point. Bulls are nice, peace-loving, ruminant brutes. Rabbits are the devilish invention of a very dark Demiurg. They deserve to be exterminated, wherever found.

    Now it is time for my glass of Porter...

    Yours, sincerely, Al B Mittington

  5. Rabbits do deserve some consideration -

  6. Your glee at killing a pet is nauseating. From your description of the way you kept this poor animal---and the fact you actually purchased from a pet broker---you care nothing about researching and caring for an innocent creature.

    You didn't litter train him, provide him adequate exercise space, nor rabbit proof your home. You blame an innocent for practicing natural behaviors. You didn't bother neutering him (as responsible pet owners do), so he marked your bed and "raped" your neighbour's doe. That's all on you, ignorant ass.

    How on earth did he get hold of your plants, for example? He didn't fly to your ceiling!

    This animal grew to trust your family, and you murdered him. Many people would be grateful for such a nice pet. You are sick and sadistic beyond hope.

  7. Dear Anonymous,

    You are obviously a lover to rabbits and no friend to long-suffering octogenarian bloggers. Well, to each his own, I say! However, justice is a gift from the gods and an obligation to our fellow human beings. Why am I not being given any credit for my loving treatment of that poor rat, or - for that matter - for my charitable texts concerning fighting bulls and mistreated Chinese dogs? I only had an ax to grind with one particular rabbit. And so I did. That's what you get when you cross

    Your Alfred B Mittington.