A new meaning to the phrase bunny boiler…

Well, I have to report that the rabbit stew was delicious, if a little long in the making. DJ insisted on doing the honours – I think it must be a hunter gatherer thing – and chose a very tasty Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from his Meat book, which I bought him for Christmas a couple of years ago. It features a mustard and cream sauce (apologies to Weightwatchers) with celery and carrots and is delicious.

The only problem was how long it took to cook. Apparently it’s all down to how old the rabbit is – which is a bit difficult to tell if you’re new to all this wild food stuff and not, er…exactly on speaking terms with Mr Bunny. DJ started dinner at about 6.30 last night and by 9.00 he still wasn’t happy with the texture of the meat and the potatoes hadn’t finished cooking because he’d only just put them on. By 9.15 I declared that I would start eating my own trousers if we didn’t eat our dinner that instant, so he served up anyway.

This was only the second time I’ve eaten rabbit but it was good, if a bit chewy. DJ was typically self-critical about his cooking and, in a disappointed tone, declared that the dish “needed work”. I think next time we’ll have to stew the heck out of it over several hours to soften it up. But it’s no bad thing. I always tend to find stews taste even better the next day as leftovers anyway, and there was certainly no meat left on the plate by the time we’d finished. As for the gory bits, they’re currently languishing in the freezer until bin day as DJ thought the smell might offend the neighbours…but enough of that!

Thanks for the comments you left on yesterday’s blog, by the way. They made for insightful reading and have given me a number of ideas. I’m not sure about going shooting myself though, as unlike the great Hugh Fearnley I am an incorrigible coward when it comes to killing small furry animals (well, apart from putting out of their misery small birds or mice my cat has mauled) although being a hypocrite I am quite happy to eat them when somebody else has. And I have been shooting in the past – although only at metal targets – and I am an appalling shot. So I think I’ll stick to Sharon’s suggestion of picking hedgerow fruits. I think DJ may be up for going shooting though, so maybe John the Poacher as I’m thinking of christening him (although of course I must stress he’s not actually a poacher!) might take him along some time.

It’s interesting that comment leaver They Call Me Todge mentioned dining on road kill, as I have another friend who lives in a rural area and also goes shooting, but isn’t averse to picking up dead pheasants etc. that he finds along the roadside. I believe the rule is that if you hit it yourself you can’t take it, but if you find one along the road that’s already a gonner then it’s ok. Of course, you need to be sure what it has died of. It’s not a good idea to eat something if the cause of death isn’t obvious, because it may be diseased. He also suggests turning up at the butchers on February 1 – the end of the pheasant shooting season – when it’s likely that pheasants will be highly discounted as the butcher panics to sell them. And you don’t have to do all the messy gutting and plucking yourself.

Would you dine on road kill? Or does the thought of it make you feel sick? (Apologies in advance to vegetarians).

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7 Responses to A new meaning to the phrase bunny boiler…

  1. rik says:

    As someone who\’s recently started to eat meat again, (not much yet though!), I\’ve always thought it a bit "iffy" to eat roadkill unless you\’ve actually seen it killed. As you say, it could have been run over because it was unwell and not aware it was in danger, but there\’s also the possibility in some cases it could have been poisoned, not something you want to eat! At least if you see it first you might have noticed if it was acting stranglely, not always possible to tell of course, but better than eat it and hope!
    Cooking the rabbits, I think, will be a case of practice, 3/4 grown ones are said to be the best. If DJ want\’s to try the shooting bit, He could start by looking here. You need to go to the club finder section and find your area, yes it\’s for targets, but you\’ll find plenty of hunters at any club. They\’ll also teach you to shoot accurately, which is harder than you think (you need to be able to hit the rabbit in the head EVERY time at 30 yds or less to prevent wounding, anyone telling you to go for a chest shot is cruel!).

  2. Christine says:

    Coming from a family where the men of my generation mostly carried a gun to shoot food, I would observe that you do have to take into account the cost of the gun and ammunition before you go down the shooting road. Also you need to be a decent shot to make it worthwhile or each meal will be twice as expensive as buying it. Having had a father and husband who didn\’t miss, the guns paid for themselves. Oh and mother was a dab hand at plucking, skinning and gutting. However, there are nowadays a lot of rules and regulations about owning a gun – have a look at getting a firearms licence. I doubt very much that unless you have a farmer or other landowner who will give you written permission to shoot on his land you will find it at all easy to get the licence – but of course if you don\’t have a gun then no-one knows if you are a decent shot or a reliable owner. Cleft stick. Stick to collecting free plant life or growing stuff in the garden if you want an easy life. For the record I\’ve never handled a gun as a matter of principle except to secure said item and its ammunition – however do know the rules only too well.

  3. jan says:

    well, the way chickens are treated they might as well be road kill!!!! we are all hunters in one way or another ,the mother too feed her young and the men to add to his family lets face it we are all animals ,with the basic instinct,having been buried for so long that i think that if you were tottally starving and hadnt eaten for weeks,your body tells you that you need food so, you would eat anything ! its only because we can talk that seperates us from cavemen.

  4. jan says:

    having been a biker for oh…. a long time ,i have had the misfortune of having been hit by a grouse!.i was lucky that i wasnt killed! .it wasnt a pretty sight, but i went back for it and we had a lovely dinner the following week!.ive also been with my ex when another hit the windscreen of his lorry,i dont know who was more shaken up ,him or the poor grouse!.but it did smash the windsreen,and could have caused a really nasty accident.he was delivering bread at the time you know, 3am and didnt know that part of the country.i firmly believe that today is all about who you can outdo and that is sad.xxxxx

  5. rik says:

    joker jan, I once ran right over a full grown hare on a little GS500 so I know how "unsettling" something like that can be! It was a bit big to carry the 150 or so miles home though, especially after the car behind drove over it, (she didn\’t need to, it was a long straight about half a mile clear in both directions but she still went over it, slowly!).

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