According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animals signs. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.
Perhaps in honor of the Chinese New Year (or perhaps because he wanted revenge for what they did to our garden this summer), Ryan brought home 5 wild rabbits that he shot over the weekend for us to cook for dinner. Needless to say, I was thrilled.
And by thrilled, I mean horrified.
Poor poor bunnies.
They didn't stand a chance.
You'd think with a dog that likes to eat the heads off baby bunnies and husband that likes to shoot anything that moves, I'd be more used to bunny carcass. But alas, I'm not. It took everything I had not to cry.
Ryan was so excited about having the rabbit for dinner. He'd been talking about it for days and almost had me convinced that they would be delicious. I was skeptical but I went along with it. I found a recipe online (here) for Belgian-style Rabbit, braised in beer, so I thought we'd give it a shot. The recipe actually sounded pretty good and I was excited to try out something different and new. However, just because I was ok cooking it, that didn't mean I was ok cutting it up into pieces (or Bunny McNuggets, as Ally so sweetly named them). That job fell to the boys. My brother Timmy and Ryan took care of breaking down the bunnies.
I sat on my stool at the counter and fought back tears.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before or not (probably not because I'm horribly horribly ashamed) but we had a bunny disaster a few years ago...on EASTER, of all days. The Great Bunny Massacre of 2007 - Mally ate the heads off 5 baby bunnies. It was a sad, sad day for me. A day that will live in infamy. Ryan couldn't have been more proud. He mentioned that he should have saved the rabbit heads for Mally. I was not amused.
Once the rabbit was in pieces (and no longer in actual bunny shape), I was much better.
It might as well have been chicken at this point.
I fired up the dutch oven and melted some butter.
Removed it from the pan and set it aside.
Added the onions, a little garlic, some salt and pepper.
The recipe called for brown Belgian beer, but all I had was leftover Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. I figured it would give the rabbit a nice flavor - you can't go wrong with pumpkin.
I added the beer and then put the meat back in to braise/simmer for an hour.
The sauce had reduced nicely and I added a pinch of sugar and then a little corn starch to make it into a thick gravy.
Served with some sauteed brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes and crescent rolls.
Actually, it was better than not bad, it was good!
I'm pretty darn proud of myself for this one.
I think I'm going to like the Year of the Rabbit!
Have you ever eaten/cooked rabbit or something else outside your comfort zone?