After a morning hosting my daughter’s 5th birthday party we did what most families do, we butchered a rabbit. Having purchased two wild Scottish hare from a restaurant food purveyor, we now needed to butcher the creatures and then sous vide the bunny parts. My mother is particularly good with a knife so we enlisted her help. I don’t think my daughter is scarred for life by the image of grandma shoving her hand into the bloody caracas of Thumper, but I might be. Don’t go up against grandma in a knife fight kids!
We looked up how to carve up the bunny on the internet and grandma went to town. My vegetarian sister almost threw up when she pulled out the heart, lungs and other bits. We should have had a plan for those and cooked them up in some amazing gourmet interpretation of offal, but we had no idea what to do, so we just roasted them for our very lucky dog.
One thing to note. Don’t start a process like this without a LOT of time on your hands. We were really rushing things at the end and it was not ideal. Here’s the thing, bunny parts are small. Very small. They are hard to work with and for us non butchers hard to identify. We had a little assembly line going with Grandma cutting up the parts. My husband and I bagging them and putting in other ingredients then vacuum sealing with the food saver.
We put some in bags with wine, garlic, and rosemary. Some got a beer and mustard mix with garlic. Some just got salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil. We put olive oil in all of them because the rabbit is such a lean meat. Then we put in the sous vide. We tossed it all in a bath at 145 (I think) but we left them in way way too long. We left them in overnight if memory serves but to be honest with all the present unwrapping and kids melting down I’m not entirely sure. I somehow lost my notes in the process so I’m sort of winging it (did I mention that I’m a fairly shitty scientist?) What I do know is that the taste was amazing but the texture was not. Most of the parts were too soft although the legs and thighs were quite nice. Turns out it’s important to correctly identify the parts and cook them separately and at different temps. Something called the “saddle” apparently doesn’t sous vide well at all. I suppose I should have made a rabbit stew with all the bits that are too delicate to sous vide, but did I mention this was the day of my daughter’s birthday party?
Stefan’s Gourmet Blog did a great rabbit test and he concluded that for farmed rabbit 8 hours at 165 was like a traditional braise. Next time I will listen to Stefan! I was cooking wild hare, not farmed rabbit so it would be more tough to begin with and would require more experimentation. We had very very mixed results and because I can’t find my notes we’re going to have to repeat this the next time grandma comes to town and we feel like traumatizing my sister.
I’d chalk this one up to a fail…but a really tasty fail. What I can say for sure is that the red wine, garlic and rosemary was fantastic as was the beer and mustard mix. Both equally tasty and I’d do it again but only with the legs and thighs.