• Swaledale Butchers Ltd

Wild Rabbit (Whole)

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1 rabbit typically serves 3-4Sold individually

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Product description

Wild rabbit can be shot continually throughout the year.

Once popular in the home kitchen, rabbit is now underused and remains an undervalued ingredient in our opinion. We rate it highly, as do our restaurant community, for its delicious and firm white meat and versatility in the kitchen.

Perfect cooked slowly on the bone as a ragu served with pappardelle, rabbit also roasts and barbecues extremely well.

The landscape on our doorstep is rich with wild game, as such we work with smaller farms and smallholdings across The Dales to responsibly source rabbits.

Valentine Warner on wild rabbit:

Legs dangling from the poacher’s long-coat pocket or in the hands of some tired looking kitchen servant, scullery preparations underway, and I think the rabbit, above all other game, is the icon of the British country kitchen. Where I grew up in the west country they are often still referred to as coneys, and it is virtually impossible to find a country cookbook of yore without a rabbit recipe burrowed amongst its pages.

Understood to have arrived with the Romans from Spain and one theory suggests that Hispania - crudely interpreted here - translates as Land of Rabbits.

My surname 'Warner', no less, is thought to stem from warrener or rabbit keeper and so it seems that for generations I’ve been bound to the rabbit. For your information, I can draw a good one on paper in under 5 seconds. Once prized for high table the rabbit would have been reared in a banked-up earth arrangement of pottery pipework, imitating their more natural homes in sandier soils. By the way, baby rabbits so often referred to as 'bunnies' are in-fact more correctly called 'kittens’. 

But to the eating as there is indeed some needed guidance:

Hunting: try to buy rabbits that have been rifle or air rifle shot and what’s more head shot. This minimises meat damage so often caused by shotguns.

Meat: wild rabbit meat looks totally different from farmed rabbit. It will likely be headless (the former always sold with pink-eyed head left on and inner pluck included) while the meat will be a darker lilac in colour than the pale chicken coloured meat of the farmed. Wild rabbit meat contains virtually no fat at all, unlike its cultivated cousin.

Cooking: while rabbits will be seen outside in greater numbers in the warm months, over this time they will be doing what rabbits do best. Such amorous activities mean that adult rabbits can be somewhat ‘funky’ and are best avoided. I find it best to eat wild rabbit meat over the cold months. Whenever possible and ideally, younger smaller rabbits are the best to eat, the larger ones being a little grassy in taste and tougher. Without getting into the intricacies of size and subsequent cooking applications, rabbit meat suites strong flavours well. Things such as wine, olives, anchovies, spices and lemons.

When cooking rabbit adding fat is important (unless cooking the loins in a quick dish). Secondly is the importance of pressure. If you don’t have a pressure cooker a heavy, cast iron pot or a Dutch oven can work wonders in its place. Minced and the meat is fairly easy to cook, portioned and jointed it responds well to gentle braising and cast iron cookware.


100% wild rabbit. May contain lead shot.

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