Second week over in my basic cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu whew-hoo! I’ve been having to deal with dead animals and how I feel about eating and cooking them. I’m not normally squeamish but the rabbit we had to butcher yesterday really made me question my carnivorism. If you’ve never seen a whole skinned rabbit it looks like it’s frozen in pain. Like someone caught it, ripped the skin right off it, and stuck it in a deep freezer. Legs outstretched and eyes forever caught in a moment of horror.
Years of cartoons flashed before me as I took my cleaver it’s neck. Elmer Fudd’s “kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit…I killed the wabbit” played in my brain like some twisted theme song. To make matters worse you can’t just cleave the neck off in one clean hack, you have to saw it a little bit and then smack down on the back of the cleaver otherwise you shatter the bone–and that could end up in your food.
Once I got the head (and eyes) off it was a little easier to cut up. It’s starts to look more like body parts and less like something that was happily munching up grain and grass the previous day. The nice thing about cutting up rabbit is that the muscle structure is well defined so it’s easy to take off the hind legs and forelegs. I can’t figure out how the forelegs are actually attached to the rabbit because there’s no joint to cleave through–it’s just held on by muscle. We also had to rip out the heart, kidneys and liver which are doll size. I skewered my rabbit’s inner parts on a fresh rosemary sprig to fry up and plate with the legs.
Once all the body parts were sectioned I seasoned them, rolled them in a little flour and browned all sides in preparation for Lapin au Mutard which is rabbit browned and then brushed with mustartd and baked with wine and cream. After the baking is done the rabbit is decanted, the pan is deglazed with more wine and the remains are strained and reduced for a decadent refined mustard/cream sauce. Serve up some petite fried potato rounds and toss with garlic and parsely et Viola! You have Bugs Bunny with potato chips gourmet style.