Friday, March 23, 2007

Marinated Oven-Grilled Rabbit with Roasted Vegetables

Whenever I eat rabbit, I think back to this one Bugs Bunny episode where the king keeps demanding Hasenpfefer! Where's my hasenpfeffer? Before that, I never knew rabbits were edible. I mean Elmer Fudd just seemed like he was there 'cause Bugs needed a foil.

As with many cultural references, I experienced the Bugs Bunny version first: to this day I remember learning that the real title of Elmer Fudd's anthem, "Kill the Wabbit" was indeed Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries", that funny, myopic Asian guy with the bucked teeth was actually General Tojo, the leader of Japan during World War II. (Amazing to see the kind of racial stereotyping only 60 years ago) and the super strong working mom with the unruly brat babysat by Bugs was Rosie the Riveter, archetype of female factory workers during the war.

So I was in full nostalgia mode the other day when I made this oven-grilled rabbit, heavily adapted from Rosengarten's Dean & Deluca cookbook: Their idea was a summery marinated, outdoor-grilled rabbit with aioli. I turned it into an oven-grilled winter dish with lots of crispy-brown root veggies.

1 whole rabbit, cut into serving pieces (by your husband who knows how to do such things)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
red wine just to cover

olive oil for drizzling
1/2 pound bacon

roughly chopped root vegetables such as: carrots, red onions, turnips, potatoes, fennel (ok, so fennel's a fat stem and not a root, so sue me)

Place the rabbit and the next 7 ingredients in a bowl or zip lock bag (with the zip lock, you can add much less wine and still get the same marinading effect) and let marinate in the fridge over night. Next day, pre-heat oven to 425°F. Wipe off the rabbit pieces reserving the marinade, wrap each one in bacon, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and arrange on a grill fitted with an under-tray where you can put half the veggies (see image). Add a bit more olive oil (to your taste and calorie limits) to the marinade and toss with the roughly-chopped root vegetables. Arrange on wide oven trays or baking dishes. I did 2 layers in the oven. Roast/grill for about 45 minutes (stirring the vegetables a couple times) or until everything is browned and crispy. Music to roast rabbit by: "Kill the Wabbit" sung by Elmer Fudd, composed by Herr Richard Wagner.


Blogger ML said...

Years ago I had a rabbit named Hasenpfefer, but we didn't have him for dinner, though :)

I love the idea or marinating with wine. And, anything with bacon is bound to be delicious!

I don't know if I could eat rabbit, though, especially after having two as pets. However, that dish sounds great and looks great. Maybe I can sub something for the rabbit. Yes, I'm a coward :)

5:30 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Oh my goodness! You crack me up! Wow, wonderful childhood memories. Your rabbit sounds and looks delicious, a lovely end-of-winter meal, no doubt! I remember watching Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd- cartoons now a days are not half as good as they were when we were kids (at least that is what I think). I don't think I can buy rabbit at the super market here in upstate NY, I think I'd have to hunt for that sort of thing or perhaps find a real butcher that has diversified meats. If I do come across rabbit though, I shall surely have to try your recipe.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Very funny, and very delicious. For those of us who may have a harder time finding a rabbit, do you perhaps suggest using dark meat chicken? Any other ideas?

Great post.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi ML, What a great sense of humor naming your rabbit Hasenpfeffer! That's hilarious. The marinade does really make the rabbit flavorful

Hi Maria, They put Bugs Bunny cartoons on here in Italy (on weekend evenings, which is weird for me) and the voices are (again, to me) all wrong. So I totally agree with you; watching them as a kid was a lot better.

Hi Christina, Definitely, dark meat chicken would be the best substitute you can get for rabbit. It would be great.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous ann said...

I love rabbit, but I can't cook it at home. I hate how they always look like they were killed me hop. It makes me sad... My favorite Bugs-ism is how he always made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Cracks me up every time.

2:37 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

NOW i know what to do with all the rabbits that hop through my yard, destroying my plantings!

2:46 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Ann, You should see how they display rabbits in the grocery stores here: whole, fur off but head on. Yikes! I'm just glad Gabriel is willing to do the butchering or we'd be eating a lot more chicken.

Hi Melissa, Yeah, a lot of gardeners (especially vegetable gardeners) have gotten over the cute n'fuzzy thing with rabbits.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Denise Stetler said...

Tried to get the music for this but it has been pulled from YouTube by Warner. Going to do this on a rotisserie set up I have. Found the rabbit already cut into pieces at one of our local stores. Thanks for the recipes.

6:13 PM  

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