Sunday, 22 March 2009

Cooking Rabbit: To soak - or not to soak?

I've read a little on forums about soaking skinned rabbits before cooking them, but - up till now - I've never bothered. Some people say soak overnight in salty water and some in water with vinegar - the rationale, either way, seems to be that the soaking has a tenderising effect on the meat and and perhaps also improves the flavour.

I thought I'd give it a go with this most recent catch and - though it's difficult to tell if the results are due to the process itself or some other factor - it seems to work very well (and I soaked mine overnight in water with salt and malt vinegar in it!). The meat emerged rather blanched from its soaking and, after cooking - a slow stewing with onions, carrots, celeriac, Dijon mustard, thyme, a couple of prunes and a little honey, I found the meat to be the most tender and flavoursome I think I've ever eaten: it was really superb.

As I say, it's hard to know if this is due to the process or perhaps due to this being a young rabbit (though I've absolutely no idea if this was the case - it certainly wasn't any smaller or lighter than rabbits I've had before) - but either way, I do think it's something I'll be doing again in the future.


  1. I cooked a rabbit stew a couple of weeks ago with one I'd bought from our local fishmonger - he does a sideline in fresh bunnys.

    I soaked the sectioned meat for about 30 hours in salted water, then slow cooked a stew, much as you did.

    The flavour was absolutely fantastic - better than remember for other rabbit stews. I'm not sure whether it was all down to the soaking but I'll certainly be doing it again next time.

    On a recipe note, I used English mustard, also the honey and thyme but also added dashes of soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, Lee & Perrins and some of Sheffield's finest Henderson's Relish. Rich and gorgeous :)

  2. Excellent! Thanks, that's very interesting.

  3. Thanks very much for the "brining" advice.  I've used it often for poultry.  The photo of the stew looks great!  I don't see the recipe! I'll look back as I bought my first rabbits today!


  4. Hi.
    I came across your blog while searching for rabbit info. I bought my first ever rabbit from a butcher at a farmers market, he said soak it in salt water for 2 or 3 hours to get rid of any remaining blood. So i've got mine soaking now.
    I've enjoyed looking around your blog, it's well written - draws me in even on subjects i'm not familiar with, suddenly i'm now interested in things i never thought i was interested in haha!