How To Cook A Farm-Raised Rabbit?

Whether you call it hasenpfeffer or just plain old “rabbit”, it’s important for any farmer to know how to cook a farm-raised rabbit. When cooked properly, they’re absolutely delicious – and offer more bang for your buck than any other type of meat. 

What is the Difference Between Farmed and Wild Rabbit?

What is the Difference Between Farmed and Wild Rabbit

There are lots of benefits to raising rabbits. 

For one, they produce very little noise and can be raised practically anywhere, including in the suburbs or even in a crowded city apartment. They take less than 15 minutes to butcher and to raise. They also require minimal input for what you get out of them.

It is estimated that every doe produces up to 50 live rabbits per year, which can yield up to 250 pounds of meat. For every rabbit you raise, you’ll get six pounds of meat for the same amount of food and water it takes to raise a cow. 

How efficient is that?

Raising rabbits is easy for beginners and the meat is super healthy. 

If you’re raising your own rabbits on the farm, be sure to check out this helpful video. It should serve as a guide for everything you need to know about the complex process of raising rabbits for meat (and getting them to the dinner table):

Now, the question you’re likely asking yourself – what does rabbit taste like? 

That depends on whether you’re eating a wild rabbit or a farmed rabbit. While wild rabbit will have a gamier flavor that is more reminiscent of red meat, farmed rabbit tastes quite a lot like chicken (albeit stronger and earthier).

How to Cook a Farm-Raised Rabbit

There are a few different ways you can cook a farm-raised rabbit. Oven roasting is one of the most popular options. 

How to Cook an Oven Roasted Rabbit

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 large rabbit (1-3 lbs)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt 
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic 
  • 1 onion, chopped 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the rabbit with the herbs and spices. Heat a skillet with the olive oil to medium-high heat. Brown the rabbit.

Place the rabbit in a 9×13” baking dish. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour them over the meat. 

Bake your rabbit uncovered, basting periodically to ensure that it does not become tough. Cook until the internal temperature reads at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Let rest, then serve!

How Long Does Rabbit Take to Cook? 

It depends on what recipe you choose, but most of the time, rabbit only takes around 20 minutes to reach the optimal internal temperature. 

However, there are some cuts that are better suited to fast cooking like this than others. You will want to stick to cooking only the lean, tender portions of the rabbit (like the loin or saddle) fast, while slow-roasting, braising, or pot roasting tougher cuts like the legs. 

Keep in mind that it is very easy to overcook rabbit. This can cause it to become tough and dry. Keep a close eye on your rabbit while you’re cooking it to make sure it doesn’t get this way.

You may have heard that rabbit meat needs to be cooked well to kill tularemia, a dangerous type of bacteria. However, as long as you are sure that your farm-raised rabbit came from healthy stock, you can cook it to medium or even rare without having to worry about the bacteria. 

Do You Need to Soak Rabbit Before Cooking?

Soaking your rabbit before cooking it isn’t usually necessary but is a step you can take if you want to remove flavors that make the rabbit taste a bit on the gamey side. 

For farm-raised rabbits, it’s not usually necessary, but for wild rabbits soaking the rabbit pieces for up to three hours can help to remove some of that undesirable flavor. 

You may, however, wish to brine the rabbit while it is cooking. This can help bring out the mild, salty flavors that the rabbit meat already has. It can also help prevent the rabbit from drying out, which is all too common.

How to Make Rabbit More Tender

Farm-raised rabbit is rarely tough – it is wild rabbit that gives rabbit meat that reputation.

However, if you find that your rabbit isn’t tender enough, you can parboil it. Simply cover the rabbit with water in a large lidded pot. Season it with minced onions, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you’d like, bring it to a boil, then turn down the fire and simmer it until the meat begins to fall off the bones.

Then, you can continue cooking it with one of the methods described in this article. 

Fun Ways to Cook Rabbit: Other Unique Recipes to Try 

Here are a few more ways to cook your farm-raised rabbit in case you get sick of the same-old, same-old. 

Fried Rabbit

Fried rabbit is another classic recipe to use up your rabbit harvest. One rabbit can serve up to four people, depending on its size. 

You’ll need:

  • 1 fresh rabbit
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme 
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the oregano, milk, garlic, paprika, red pepper, and thyme into a plastic bag, then add cut-up rabbit pieces. Marinate the rabbit in the mixture overnight. 

Drain the rabbit from the mixture and set aside. In a separate bag, add the salt, pepper, flour, and garlic powder. Heat three cups of oil in a large skillet, then, when warm, toss the rabbit pieces in the flour mixture and add them to the hot oil. Fry for 15 minutes on each side.

Let the rabbit rest for a few minutes before you serve. That way, it will retain its juices!  

Rabbit in Wine Sauce

Another recipe you can try is rabbit in wine sauce. 

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 rabbit (1-2 lbs)
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1.5 cups dry white wine (can substitute chicken stock in a pinch)
  • Fresh thyme, to garnish
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the rabbit into separate pieces. Ideally, it should have four parts to make it easier to cook – the back legs, the front legs, and two pieces for the breast.

Start by pan-searing the rabbit on medium to high heat in the olive oil. Add the rabbit pieces and sear them until they are well browned, or about five minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped garlic and reduce the heat slightly.  Cook an additional two to three minutes while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. 

Pour the white wine on the rabbit. Then, put the pan with the pieces into the oven and roast for up to 30 minutes or until the rabbit reaches the ideal temperature. Garnish with the thyme. 

Rabbit Stew

Last but not least is this rabbit stew recipe – it’s a great comfort food for those chilly winter nights!

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ lbs mixed mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large rabbit (1-3 lbs)
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine (can substitute chicken stock)
  • 3 additional cups of chicken stock 
  • 1 large parsnip, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Begin by cutting the rabbit into pieces and sprinkling it with salt. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Roast the garlic in the oven at 375 degrees while the rabbit is resting. The cloves should be soft and brown. Let them cool while you chop the tough parts of the mushroom stems. 

Saute the fresh mushrooms on high heat for one minute. Then, you can brown the rabbit in butter. Saute the shallots next. 

Then, you’ll combine the rest of your ingredients in the pot. Bring everything to a simmer, then simmer for at least 90 minutes. The meat should be falling off the bone. Add salt and pepper just before serving!

What Should I Serve Rabbit With?

Just as important as knowing how to cook a farm-raised rabbit is knowing what, exactly, you should serve it with! It’s totally up to you, but it is traditionally served with pasta or polenta, since it’s a common dish in Italy. 

You can also add a cream or cider-based sauce or you can pair it with a light green salad. The choice is yours – but whatever you do, make sure you consider raising rabbits so you can add these delicacies to your diet as soon as possible!

Looking for more farmhouse recipes? Check out this guide.

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