I processed two pens of rabbits this week. I thought the rabbits in one pen was going to be small, but surprisingly, they all dressed out at close to or more than two and a half pounds and looked really good. The other pen was even nicer.
We produce really good rabbit. I put two in the crockpot yesterday afternoon with two bottles of Samual Adams Summer Ale and two onions and let it simmer for about four hours. The flavor of the rabbit was incredible! I am going to remove the meat from the bones (reserving the bones) and shred it to make rabbit tacos. I am going to make some Buttermilk Bacon-fat Tortillas to go with them. Most excited! It is going to rain all weekend so I’m going to spend a good bit of the time in the kitchen. Want to have a lot of prepared (homemade-prepared!) meals in the freezer for when I go back to school.
The second group of rabbits are in the refrigerator (I let them rest for several days in the refrigerator before cutting them up) and when I do cut them up, I am going to put two more rabbits in the liquid I will reserve from the crockpot and make another batch of shredded rabbit to freeze. Then I’ll put the reserved bones in the liquid and cook it again into broth and freeze the broth for soups over the winter.
I’m getting hungry thinking of it!
Over the past few days, I have been on a cooking and culinary journey. I purchased The Third Plate: Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber and am having difficulty putting it down. I share Barber’s belief that the farm to table, eat local movement has done little to change how people eat. I personally believe that the farm to table, eat local movement is very, very inconsistent. There are some individuals that are true, but so many of them, when push comes to shove, they forget that small farms are what they are, not Big Ag. I think that’s because so many so-called “small farms” these days are mimicking Big Ag, just on a smaller scale.
The general public still are “cherry picking” the more glamorous parts of animals and produce. So many people have lost the skills and/or desire necessary to cook from scratch. If they do cook, they prefer boneless chicken breasts over a whole bird; will not experiment with different cuts or species (like rabbit).
Wally and I no longer purchase chicken. Instead we eat rabbit. There is really no comparison between rabbit and chicken. Rabbit is so far superior to chicken it is not funny. It takes more care to cook, but the extra effort (and cost!) is well worth it. Our rabbit is not just any rabbit, they are a heritage breed bred for what they taste like, not for how fast they grow or how easy they are to process. They are fed a high-quality diet (not rabbit pellets!) and they food they eat is apparent in their taste.
Barber mentions South Carolina’s Anson Mills many times in the text. I ordered from Anson Mills:
- Sea Island Red Peas
- Rustic Polenta Integrale
- Artisan Whole Grain Wheat Flour
- Antebellum Fine Yellow Cornmeal
- Rustic Coarse Graham Wheat Flour
- Handmade Toasted Stone Cut Oats
- Farro Piccolo
- Carolina Gold Rice
- Antebellum Coarse Yellow Cornmeal
- Abruzzi Heirloom Rye Flour
And plan to spend some time experimenting with true, heirloom grains. I am already using heirloom, dried beans now instead of canned beans [NOTE TO SELF: take out some beans to soak overnight to cook this weekend] and there is no taste comparison.
I think many people have lost the ability and/or desire to seek out and appreciate good flavor. Since I became an adult, I’ve had the desire and I honestly do not know how I acquired it. I think it was from the years I lived in Boston’s North End. I learned Italian cooking from the best and had access to some of the best meats, pastas, vegetables, etc. on a daily basis.
Now, I still have access to good things, but I either have to raise them myself or have them shipped in. I like that Anson Mills is in South Carolina and now that I live in the south, I should learn true southern cuisine.
Off to milk. I’ve got a very, very busy day ahead. I have to go on campus to register, get my books (hopefully!), have lunch with a friend, take care of rabbits and kittens that I am housesitting for, make a quick trip to the grocery store, come back and check the animals and then meet Wally in Lincolnton to finalize our Fabulous Plan. The announcement will post to this page at 4:30 PM EST so stay tuned!
Until later …