Rabbit shepherds pie
I can officially say I have now eaten rabbit! I wasn't sure how I should prepare it, there are so many yummy sounding recipes. I decided to go with a shepherds pie. This was partly because I wasn't sure I would like the taste of the rabbit, and if I didn't, I could eat the other layers of the meal and leave the rabbit. It turned out this was an unfounded fear as the rabbit was delicious.
I cooked the rabbit whole in a crock pot with water and Italian seasoning. I put it on low at 7:30am before I left for work. The rabbit was an adult and had been sitting in a bowl of salt water brine with garlic and onion powder for 2 days. When I got home that afternoon around 2:30 I turned it up to high. I peeled my potatoes and put them on to boil. Peeled carrots, sliced them up and put them on to boil as well.
I turned off the cock pot and removed the rabbit and placed it on a cutting board. I picked the meat (which was mostly falling off the bones) apart and cut up the bigger chunks. I removed all the meat I could and put it in a layer in a casserole dish. I weighed the rabbit before I put it in the crock pot and it was 3.7 lbs. I don't know the weight of the bones, but it made a lot of meat, in my opinion.
On-top of the rabbit meat I layered the rest of the ingredients. 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, carrots, corn, and mashed potatoes. I put a couple bits of butter on top so that when it was baked it would melt and add to the flavour. The shepherds pie was then put into the fridge and cooked the next day.
My family all tried the rabbit shepherds pie and it went over great with everyone! My father had previously eaten wild rabbit that he and his father had hunted, but that was many years ago. The general consensus was that it had a similar flavour to the dark meat of a turkey. I don't know if that's due to how it was cooked or its age, but I'm excited to try it a new way next time and see how it tastes then.
There was four adults and one child for dinner and we still had two servings left over. So one rabbit made enough food for 6 adult servings and one half sized child serving. I was very pleased and will definitely make it again.
I am pleased to say that I dispatched, processed and cooked this rabbit all on my own. It was a learning process, but very much worth it. It tasted delicious and has taught me a life skill that allows me to be self reliant and self sufficient. I am looking forward to continuing on with raising meat rabbits and learning even more.