Friday, May 13, 2011

Butchering Rabbits and a Recipe For Them!

Earlier this week some friends of mine and I butchered 3 rabbits. I had never processed rabbits before but figured it couldn't be that difficult. I've done deer, hogs, turkeys and chickens so I was somewhat confident. What I needed help with though was the kill. I'm a wimp. Seriously. Ask me to shoot a deer at 100 yds and I have no problem but when you can't shoot an animal and you have to kill it another way, I just get creeped out. So I called in reinforcements for support! We each did one rabbit. I'll totally admit though that I waited till the last one to muster up the courage for the kill. *Thanks Kristy and Ida for giving me the courage!*
I got the basics of the process from here and here. Both were extremely helpful.
Gavin was gone at work, the little kids were sleeping and we three gals had an "afternoon on the farm."


*The next few photos may be graphic to some. There is very little blood in them but if you're squeamish then you may want to stop reading.*




The finished product.

I have never cook rabbit before so I went searching for recipes. Then a friend reminded me of my Little House Cookbook. How could I have forgotten? I took the recipe for Stewed Rabbit and adapted it a little. It seemed a little too plain for my taste- but Caroline Ingalls didn't have easy access to all the things we have today so I can see how it would have been basic. Plus, I didn't have any Salt Pork. I did have bacon though and used it instead.



Here's my recipe for:


Stewed Rabbit and Dumplings


1 3lb butchered rabbit (cut into 8 pieces)
6 oz bacon
½ onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 c chicken stock/broth
2 Tb butter
2 Tb flour
1 c water
salt and pepper

Dumplings:
2 c flour
1 heaping tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4-1c buttermilk
Dice bacon and cook it in a 3qt chicken fryer. When cooked, remove pieces and leave fat in fryer.


Season rabbit pieces with salt and pepper then fry rabbit in bacon fat for about 10-15 minutes.While rabbit is frying, saute onion and garlic with butter in small saucepan, until tender.



After rabbit has been fried, add chicken stock/broth and sauteed onion/garlic into fryer. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes on medium to medium-low heat.




Meanwhile, brown flour in small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, making sure not to burn it. Flour is done when it resembles cocoa powder. Leave flour in skillet but remove from heat and allow to cool. Once it has cooled down, stir in 1 c water to form a thin paste.




Make dumplings mixing all ingredients together just until blended.



Uncover rabbit, add in flour paste and bacon pieces. Then drop by spoonfuls, the dumpling dough, covering the top of the rabbit.



Cook uncovered for 10 minutes and then replace cover for the last 10 minutes.





Serve with a vegetable and mashed potatoes.



I did broccoli with ours and didn't think of the mashed 'taters until we were eating our dinner... but thought it would have been great to pour the gravy over some fluffy mashed potatoes!


I was very happy with the way it all came out. The rabbit tastes very similar to chicken so if you don't have any rabbit on hand you could use this same recipe with a whole, cut up chicken.

I purchased these rabbits for $6 each. I believe that the final cost came out to just over $2/lb. If I had raised the rabbits myself, the cost would have been significantly less. Rabbits are raised till about 12 wks old for butchering but aren't weaned from their mother until 6-8wks, so there is very little "raise" time in between. To raise them you must keep a buck and a doe (preferably 2 does) year round. The gestation time is just under a month, very similar to chickens. I'm not sure that I want to take on raising rabbits right now with everything else we have going on, but it is certainly something we'll be thinking about.


This post is linked to the Barn Hop!

10 comments:

Jaclyn Hicks said...

I have never butchered rabbits, but my husband has....we may just have to give this a try! Have a blessed weekend!

Quinn said...

We're riding the fence on rabbit raising so I appreciated this post! (Especially the what it tastes like.) It sounds economical especially if you keep them on grass for those last few weeks. You may have nudged me to the "yes" side of that fence!

teekaroo said...

I've butchered lots of animals, and the kill part is my least favorite. I don't know if I could butcher a rabbit. Is it faster/easier than butchering a bird?

Mountain Home Quilts said...

teekaroo,
I'd say that once the rabbit is dead, it is MUCH easier than a bird. There is no scalding, no plucking, and it seemed a little easier to gut.
The pelt slips off like a t-shirt. I think if I had to choose between raising meat chickens or rabbits, I may choose the rabbit. There are benefits to the chickens though too. I guess it would just depened on your circumstances and willingness.

PaulaB52 said...

We did rabbits for a year. The butchering was bad, but the high infant mortality rate was worse for me than the butchering.

I do love some good rabbit stew though. This may be something we need to revisit.

Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing this Heather. My husband has been talking about raising rabbits for meat. We have not raised any animals for butchering yet. I don't think that I could take care of the kill either. I have helped butcher hogs and deer but if I see a face or the head that kind of does it for me :)

Have a blessed day!
~Sharon

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Well done and they look delicious. I don't think I've ever had domestic rabbit though.

Renata said...

Looks very interesting - we've just done our first home butchering of chickens - we had so much fun doing it, but definitely taking the life is the hardest part.
Thanks for sharing
Blessings
Renata:)

Amanda said...

I really appreciated this post.

We have been looking into this. I'm certain now, that this is the best animal {economically} to raise.

I appreciated the time you have taken to post instructions and photos of the procees and,

A really good looking recipe.

Great, great post!

Gmama Jane said...

Oh my goodness, you gals are braver than this Grandma! I live on a small farm and grow our own chickens& eggs. I used to watch my mother butcher chickens by wringing their necks and then putting the headless body under a basket. I would watch that basket flopping around and cry my eyes out. I told my mama she was the cruelest woman in the whole world! Ha!! I'm a wimp. I like my meat but I'll leave the butchering to the pros or anyone I can't see kill the animals. You are 4 brave gals, I'll say that for you!
Blessings
Gmama Jane

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