Whole Roasted Rabbit for Easter (AKA Let’s Eat the Easter Bunny!)

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I was walking through the farmer’s market at Union Square in NYC last weekend, and while it’s clearly not spring yet for produce, I did stumble upon something that feels like spring: fresh rabbit. I know some people have issues with eating rabbit (cause bunnies are cute or some shit, I don’t really know), but rabbit is delicious and we should all be giving it a go.

“I don’t know how to cook rabbit” you might say, but if you can cook chicken, you can cook rabbit. I decided to roast mine whole, and frankly it was as easy as roasting a whole chicken. Especially with Easter approaching, now is the time to try it out (and definitely please tell your kids they’re about to eat the Easter Bunny, and please for the love of god get it on film for all of us).

First, if you have a really fresh local rabbit like I did, you’re going to want to inspect for any remaining bits of fur, and get that shit out of there. Next, it’s time to take out the organs. They should pop out pretty easily if you just get a paring knife in there. The kidneys can sometimes taste like pee, so… we’re just gonna toss those. But the heart and liver in there? We’re we’re gonna use those for some of the best stuffing you’ve ever had.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T worcestershire sauce
  • 4 T Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 2 T honey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • ~4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 T butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cups stock
  • eggs, beaten
  1. If you have time, brine the rabbit (see earlier post about “changing your life”).
  2. If not, you can go with a marinade, but make sure you still give it a couple hours to hang out and get flavorful. Mix the mustard, cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, honey, salt, and pepper, and stick the rabbit in a gallon bag with the marinade; make sure you get it in all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  4. Trim off any connective tissue from the heart and liver, then season with salt and pepper.
  5. Get a pan nice and hot with a little olive oil or butter, and just fry those guys up, a couple minutes on each side. The interior should still be pink, but you’ll have some nice browning on the outside. Set aside.
  6. Cut some brioche into large bite-sized pieces, until you have about 3 cups, and spread it out into a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  7. Toast bread in the oven until dry and the edges are browned, about 15-20 minutes depending on your bread and the size of your cuts. Leave your oven on when they’re done.
  8. Cook down the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots until just soft with the thyme sprigs. Take the thyme out once done.
  9. Mix the toasted bread, cooked vegetables, stock and eggs.
  10. Stuff the cavity of the rabbit with stuffing, and put the remaining amount in an oven safe dish.
  11. Bake the rabbit for 75 minutes, or until the little guy is falling apart. The stuffing can come out after about an hour.

Make sure you serve a little “rabbit food” on the side (aka salad). This’ll go well with just about anything that goes well with chicken. I served mine with the offal stuffing, the “rabbit food,” parsnip and sunchoke puree, and toasted sourdough bread with mushroom-leek-bacon-mascarpone dip (don’t worry, the recipe for that is forthcoming), but you honestly can’t go wrong.

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