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How to Cook a Cottontail Rabbit

by
author image Fern Fischer
Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.
How to Cook a Cottontail Rabbit
A cooked leg of rabbit on a tray. Photo Credit ALLEKO/iStock/Getty Images

Cottontail rabbits live wild throughout most of the U.S. and are a favorite prey of small game hunters. Cottontail rabbit meat is nutritious, containing less fat than chicken, turkey, beef, pork or lamb. Use moist-cooking methods for tender, flavorful meat because rabbit meat has naturally low moisture content. Rabbit meat can replace chicken in any chicken recipe, including recipes for cold cooked chicken. For a simple, hot rabbit dish, try a fricassee.

Step 1

Cut the rabbit into serving pieces. One adult rabbit should yield 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. of bone-in meat, or about four servings. Dust the rabbit pieces with flour.

Step 2

Heat a large skillet to melt 1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup olive oil. Place the floured rabbit pieces into the hot skillet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Fry the meat over medium-high heat until it is browned on all sides. Move the meat to edges of the skillet.

Step 3

Cook the diced onion in the center of the skillet until it turns translucent. Pour in 1-1/2 cups of red wine.

Step 4

Cut the celery into 1-inch pieces. Tie the celery, lemon, parsley and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and place it in the skillet liquid. Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced slightly.

Step 5

Remove the rabbit from the skillet and place it on a warm serving platter. Remove and discard the seasoning bag. Cut together 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. flour until crumbly, and add to the wine liquid in the skillet. Stir constantly until the sauce bubbles and thickens.

Step 6

Pour the wine sauce over the rabbit and garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.

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