Recently, over our Sunday family lunch, we got talking about rabbits. My cousin, who lives in the nearby town of Zaton, has been stalking a rabbit that likes to come out at night onto his street. He proceeded to tell me he has accidentally hit several wild rabbits with his car over the years due to the proximity of his house to the woods where they live. Waste not, want not, he collected them and brought them home to the family! I know it sounds a little Beverley Hillbilly’s but trust me, they only take critters they hit themselves!
Surprisingly, most of my immediate family here won’t eat rabbits. I have to say I was pretty shocked to hear this. Why not? I thought to myself! It’s not logical to me that they eat snails (both sea and land), various internal organs of animals, cuttlefish eggs, and fish eyes, but the rabbit is a turnoff! It seems the fluffy little creatures are safe from the hungry bellies of my immediate family. Well, some of them anyway.
A week or so after this discussion, my Tetak (Uncle) told me that his sister offered to give us a rabbit. Her family raises a dozen or so rabbits for meat. I jumped at the chance, and a date was set.
Upon arrival to pick up my fluffy bunny, I had a good look around at the rabbits. I was pretty surprised to see that all the rabbits were in large clean pens. They are fed an excellent diet of leftover raw vegetables and grass that is picked from the field next door. It was nice to know that they have a good healthy life.
Since moving to Croatia, I have been trying to immerse myself in the Croatian culture. As such, whenever an opportunity arises to experience something like this, I like to get involved.
I think it’s essential that we understand where our food comes from, so my personal philosophy is if I’m prepared to eat it, I must be prepared to at least witness it being slaughtered.
I’ll spare you the details; however, the sacrificial rabbit was selected and humanely slaughtered. Within 15 minutes, the rabbit had been completely skinned, cleaned, and was given to me to take home.
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What Did We Do With The Rabbit?
My Aunt made this rabbit stew recipe, and I
stole borrowed it for you.
This is a simple, yet tasty recipe for how to make my Aunty Vinka's rabbit stew.
- 1 skinned rabbit, cut into chunks
- 2 diced onions
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- Olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy stew pot
- 2 diced carrots
- 1/2 tablespoons chopped fine fresh rosemary
- 3 whole bay leaves (fresh or dried both work)
- 1/3 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage (use dried if you have to)
- 1-liter dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 3 chopped cloves garlic
- Add oil to the bottom of the pot and add garlic and onion
- When the garlic and onion start to change color, add in carrots and cook for a couple of minutes
- Add the rabbit and allow it to cook on low heat until juices start to be released (around 15minutes). Ensure you occasionally mix to stop it from sticking
- Toss in all of the herbs, tomato paste, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix
- After several minutes pour in 1 liter of dry white wine
- Allow to cook on low heat; remember to mix occasionally to prevent it burning & sticking for around 2 hours. The white wine needs to reduce by about 80%. This bit can be a little tricky, so keep an eye on the dish and add water if you need. The rabbit needs to cook until tender
- Serve with polenta, mashed potato, or gnocchi. Be sure to shave some parmesan cheese into the polenta for extra zing!
The dish is cooked on low heat and will take about 2 hours.