Take A Walk On The Wild Side

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on July 8, 2011

 

Ok, don’t get too excited, this is still a family rated food blog…by wild I’m talking rabbit…ever had it?

Growing up in Australia, my uncle used to hunt wild hare, and I remember it as being some of the most delicious meat I have ever tasted. He would clean and prepare the meat and allow it to soak in regular milk for a few hours or overnight to tenderize it and remove any gamey smell or flavor. There was a beautiful stone and brick grill that he had built himself out in the backyard, and I can still see him standing there tending the fire and piles of assorted meat that included rabbit, lamb and kangaroo…it’s a distant memory but still feels like yesterday…

For the rabbit, he would prepare a very Mediterranean flavored marinade to baste the meat while it was on the grill. It was very simple and just olive oil, lemon juice and zest, oregano and salt and pepper that created that perfect combination that went so well with the slightly charred meat. But, today I wanted to try something different.  I happened to see a post that my talented friends and cookbook authors Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein had written on preparing rabbit wrapped in bacon…it sounded so delicious that I just had to make it. 

You have to be careful with rabbit because there is no skin on the exterior like there is with chicken or turkey, so the meat can get very dry, that’s why the the bacon idea sounded like it could really work in keeping the meat moist and also add some flavor.  After chatting with Mark about it further, I found out that after wrapping it in bacon, Bruce used a rotisserie on low heat and cooked it slowly for a few hours. Well, after hearing that I thought I would have to shelve my idea of trying this because I don’t have a rotisserie.

Would it be possible to cook it in the oven and get the same delicious results? Well, why not?

I prepared the rabbit as my uncle did by soaking it in milk overnight. The next day I rinsed the milk off well, patted it dry, added a little salt and pepper and wrapped it in the bacon. You can use wooden skewers soaked in water to secure the bacon if you are doing them on the rotisserie so the bacon does not fall off, but I folded the bacon carefully over the meat and cooked it slowly first until the bacon set and then flipped it and cooked the other side…all of this without the use of skewers.

I can honestly say that It was absolutely delicious! It was so moist and tender that it reminded me of the dark meat in chicken…it was that moist and flavorful. Next time I may try a little homemade barbecue sauce under the bacon, or may even marinate it in the barbecue sauce as I do with my ribs, and then add the bacon. If you are doing this in the oven, you can also add some potatoes to the bottom of your pan and let them roast in all of that lovely juice and bacon fat that drips down…ok, now I’m hungry.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Mark & Bruce’s blog, real food has curves, you really should….it’s filled with lots of great recipes and information on all things food.

Roasted Rabbit Wrapped In Bacon

1 large rabbit cut into pieces

1 pound thinly sliced bacon

3 cups whole milk

S&P

4 large potatoes **optional

 

Honey Mustard Dressing

¼ cup homemade mayo

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

First prepare the honey mustard dressing by adding all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together, then set aside.

Rinse the rabbit well and put into a large bowl and cover with the 3 cups of milk. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, remove the meat from the bowl, rinse it well and discard the milk.

Season the rabbit with a little salt and pepper  and then take long thin pieces of bacon and wrap each piece. I found that it took 3 pieces of bacon for each piece of rabbit.

If you decided to use potatoes, make sure to add them to the bottom of the roasting pan then put the rack on top of them.

After wrapping each piece of rabbit with the bacon, place on the rack with the loose ends of the bacon facing up.

Cover the entire roasting pan with some foil and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes until the rabbit has cooked through. Uncover this and place on the top shelf of your oven for 15 minutes, then turn each piece over and cook the other side for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve over salad with honey mustard dressing.

You can preorder Mark & Bruce’s new book Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them…And 100 Other Myths About Food & Cooking from their website

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