Cooking Louisiana  -  Smothered Rabbit
This is a smothered rabbit recipe that works for both domestic and wild rabbit. The only difference between the two is "the wild taste". I do the same basic things here for smothered rabbit as I do for deer roast and duck when it comes to "the wild taste"; triple the celery. Smothered rabbit is served with rice and a nice oven-baked sweet potato.

This takes time... be patient and it will come out really good.

Smothered Rabbit Recipe - use a cast iron pot

2 nice sized rabbits cut up
2 lbs. onions chopped
1 whole bunch of celery chopped (important for wild game - less for domestic)
1 lg. bell pepper chopped
2-3 tbs. cooking oil or bacon drippings.
6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt, black & cayenne pepper (Creole seasoning if you wish) Layered...

1 cup of milk
1 Tbs. Creole seasoning of your choice
1 Tbs. Garlic powder

Domestic rabbit can be marinated for a a few hours or not marinated at all; it has no wild taste. Wild rabbit needs to be marinated at least overnight or 12 hours. There's no science to this. The objective is to let the milk draw blood out, and, tenderize the meat (break down the meat tissues). Wild rabbits live in the wild and get more exercise than domestic (tamed) or caged rabbits do; hence the meat is tougher.

Milk or water will draw blood... milk draws blood and tenderizes, water only draws blood out.

Take the cut up rabbit and put it in a large zip-lock bag and add the marinade above. Put in the ice box and marinade at least 12 hours or overnight. Move the bag around a few times. Before putting the rabbit in the pot drain away all of the marinade liquid.

To cook the dish...

Start with the onions in a little cooking oil. Cook for about 20 minutes on a medium fire. Get them wilted. Add the celery and bell pepper. It will settle out but will continue to cook. Let them cook stirring often and you'll see them get more and more brown. Add water if you need too here and there. This is one key to the gravy. The flour is the other... you'll see this later

What you want is all the vegetables cooked down to almost a "mush". and they are "pecan" colored. What makes that happen is letting things get a little "sticky" and almost burnt (dark brown). When you see "dark brown" add a 1/8 cup or so of water (you don't have to measure), turn the fire down a little and scrape the bottom of the pot... you'll see the sticky stuff dissolve. When you add the water you'll see a little sizzle and see a brown water evolve... that's the beginning of your gravy. Turn the fire back up after that and continue the process.

Continue until you satisfied that the color is good. No more than "brown". This takes time folks... we're talking a few hours depending on the fire intensity and/or your willingness to watch it closely. True Cajuns are never in a rush when it comes to good food.

Once the veggies are "color perfect" you're going to add the rabbit. BUT, before you add the rabbit you're going to season it like you would a chicken to be fried, then dust it with all purpose flour. The flour may not stick to the rabbit, but will assist in adding to the gravy.

You have to crank the fire up just a little, let's say med-high, to get a little browning going on with the rabbit meat. Watch it closely so nothing burns. Once again you're looking for brown color and watch the fire intensity.

Once everything is browned nicely add the green onions and parsley, and about a cup of water. Stir around real good. Things will start to come together in a good gravy; add water to almost cover the meat but watch so the gravy is not too thin.... this is a judgment call on your part.

Now, if you're gravy is not thick enough you can add a little powdered instant roux to supplement. It has to come to a boil for it to thicken properly.

Once satisfied with the amount of gravy lower the fire to a slow bubble and continue to cook until the meat starts to separate from the bone. At this point be sure to taste and add seasoning as needed.

Serve over hot rice, and, sides are cornbread or hot French bread and a good veggie (like fresh cooked mustard greens).

Serves about six to eight.