Continuing with the meals from The Hunger Games, check out the rabbit story and resulting meal :-)
"Too many years of hunting, I guess. And the lure of possible meat. I’m rewarded with one fine rabbit. In no time, I’ve cleaned and gutted the animal, leaving the head, feet, tail, skin, and innards, under a pile of leaves. I’m wishing for a fire — eating raw rabbit can give you rabbit fever, a lesson I learned the hard way — when I think of the dead tribute. I hurry back to her camp. Sure enough, the coals of her dying fire are still hot. I cut up the rabbit, fashion a spit out of branches, and set it over the coals.” (The Hunger Games)
Katniss roasted the rabbits on the leftovers of a fire which another Tribute had made the night before. In the morning, she saw Peeta with the Career pack and overheard their conversation about killing the girl. Since the Careers had moved on, Katniss took a chance and cooked the rabbit on the dying fire so she wouldn’t have to eat it raw.
Okaaaaaay………here is my experience “hunting rabbit” in downtown Tallahassee Florida. I assure you, it was a different experience than hunting in Panem. First off, Americans are not as keen to eat rabbit, therefore it’s not as available here as you’ll find in European markets. As a result, the two selections before me were slim pickins at best.
When I traveled in France (over 30 years ago) a rabbit would be hung with the puffy tail still attached so the buyer could be assured they were purchasing a rabbit rather than a cat. Perhaps they still have this custom today…or maybe I read that in a Peter Mayle book…and Mayle has most certainly been to France more recently than I have.
Here is my first effort: I call a local meat market where I had high hopes.
Me: “ Do you have rabbit and if so, how much per pound?”
Bored employee who answered phone: “Yes, it’s $4.98 a pound but it’s whole so you’ll have to cut it yourself”
Me: “Sounds great, be right over.” And with that I announced to Doug he would be carving it up into eight pieces…
We get there and are seriously disappointed to find they do indeed have rabbit but it’s frozen. And very small. The appearance was not giving anyone confidence it wasn’t, in fact, a skinned feral cat. It was just that small and it looked…suspect. Really...I'm not kidding. We leave to go rabbit huntin' elsewhere.
Off we go to the local grocery store where saw a half rabbit (this was also frozen) priced at $15. It was bigger, meatier and from a more trusted source. After thawing and cooking, we sit down to our rabbit dinner.
We have wine. We chat about how you can tell which piece of a chicken you have but this rabbit….not as clear. Is it a thigh? It doesn’t have the break from the bone as you are used to with a chicken, like when you separate the wing…know what I mean? We have more wine and bread with our rabbit dinner.
Now we are getting into our cups and while not legally drunk, we are…happy. That’s when we discuss how the rabbit has its own unique taste…and that’s when Doug blurts out “Meow”
Really? Now I am picking at my rabbit piece. We both had the same thoughts on this...and once a doubt is planted in your mind, that's the end of the show, folks. We agreed it wasn't going on the list for meal rotation. (And no, it wasn't because he meowed...it honestly wasn't...we both had concerns)
I will try rabbit again…somewhere, maybe in France or Ireland. Or if I actually see someone zip the skin off and have it cooked differently. But yeah…………that’s why I made mock rabbit stew. Rabbit Stew with a K.
Here is how you prepare the sauteed rabbit I presented here on this post.
Start with some freshly chopped garlic, bay leaves and springs of thyme.
Cut the rabbit into 8 pieces if you have a whole rabbit. Roll it in flour with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven.
Add rabbit pieces and cook until golden, turning to color evenly. Add a cup of red wine and boil for 1 minute, now add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth to cover the meat. Tip in a bay leaf, 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped) and a sprig of fresh thyme. Simmer until rabbit is cooked, about 45 minutes. Now stir in 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and serve. With wine.
Next up from the Hunger Games is my Apple Tart post. Come see me!