Archive for the 'Rabbit' Category

Food Week: A French Chef Talks Wild Game

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
Chef Jacques-Pepin, photo KQED

Chef Jacques-Pepin, photo KQED

This is Passport to Texas

If you watch PBS television cooking shows, you’ve probably seen this man:

My name is Jacques Pepin.

80-year-old Jacques Pepin is a classically trained French chef, author, and PBS cooking show host. He says in his youth, most of the meat he ate came from wild game.

We follow the season, and the season in the fall in France we have the rabbit and the pheasant and the stuff. You go to market and see the game hanging.

Jacques Pepin’s final PBS series is Heart & Soul. Before that, it was Essential Pepin. Like all his shows, Essential Pepin included a companion book and DVD that was going to include how to skin a rabbit after harvest.

But the skinning of the rabbit, they have removed it already so you’re not going to see it. And I knew it. They got berserk when they saw it. They said, “Oh my God!” Well, it’s good to get closer to Mother Nature and to realize where your food comes from.

It may seem gruesome, but the alternative, says Chef Pepin, is what we have now: generations of people who only recognize food if it’s in neatly cut pieces and wrapped in plastic.

I mean, this is pretty scary when you think of it.

Sign up for the Hunt Texas e-newsletter on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, and learn about hunting for your next meal.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting and New World Independence

Thursday, November 26th, 2015
Back in Time for Thanksgiving, image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

This is Passport to Texas

This week we commemorate the first Thanksgiving. While our turkeys come from the store, Pilgrims hunted for theirs. Did you know that prior to the Pilgrim’s arrival in 1620 few of them had ever hunted wild game?

10—The first people to come over wouldn’t have been able to hunt [in England] because the land was owned by the rich and that’s where you hunted. So, when they came to America and were able to hunt anywhere, it was actually a real expression of their new lives.

Simon Majumdar is a hunter, food writer and judge on Food Network TV competitions. He says along with being deeply rooted in the American identity, hunting puts good food on the table.

13—I’m a great believer if you hunt for food that you’re going to eat some really amazing dishes. I mean, I’ve hunted many times in the UK: deer, wild birds…rabbit. I do a lot of rabbit hunting in the United Kingdom. And I think the food often just tastes better.

Plus, he says, you know its origins. Simon Majumdar, author of Fed, White and Blue: Finding America with My Fork says despite our long history with hunting and eating wild game, some Americans remain reticent.

10—I always blame Walt Disney. Walt Disney has a lot to answer for because everyone thinks of like Bambi and Thumper. And they’re really just sources of food. So, I’m very unsentimental with it.

Be sentimental when giving thanks this season, and pass the turkey.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
Evin Cooper's Cottontail Carnitas.

Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas.

This is Passport to Texas

In 1980, when word spread that author and celebrity chef, Julia Child, planned to prepare rabbit and leek pie on her PBS TV series, the public protested. Their reaction has since been termed: Easter Bunny Syndrome…it’s when we decide which animals not to eat based on their perceived cuteness.

As writer, cook and mom, Evin Cooper tells us, rabbits are as delicious as they are cute, and even better than pork in carnitas. She says her first attempt using cottontails was a success, and began with two rabbits in a slow cooker.

45—And, I stewed them all day with some beer and some homemade salsa, and let them cook and cook and cook. And then, let them cool—and then I deboned the meat. Then, I let the meat sit in the fridge overnight, and the next day I seasoned it up a little bit more with chili powder and cumin and all those wonderful Mexican spices. And I fried them in some hot oil—just the shredded meat—almost like hash browns. It got really crispy on the bottom, and I flipped it over and got it crispy on the other side—almost to the point of burnt. Then, I put it in warm corn tortillas with avocado slices and lime juice. It was so good. I mean, I’ve given up pork for my carnitas. And I want to use almost entirely cottontail now. It’s just delicious.

Find Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas recipe at

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Rabbit Carnitas

Evin Cooper says to make this flavorful dish is a two-day process, and well worth the effort.

Day One

  • 2-3* good size jackrabbits/cottontails, skinned and cleaned
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 beer

Day Two

  • Corn or canola oil
  • taco seasoning**
  • prepared rabbit meat
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro
  • diced onion
  • avocado
  • lime

For the meat:

The day before you want to serve the tacos, wash the rabbits and pat dry. In a crockpot or a large stock pot, add the rabbits, salsa and beer. Use both your favorite salsa and beer. (Stick with a lighter beer. Dark beers will overpower the flavor of the meat.) Cook the rabbits until they are fall-off-the-bone tender (3-4 hours on the stove, 4-6 hours in a crockpot) and allow to cool a bit. When you can handle the rabbits, pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones. Add the juices from the pot to the shredded meat and refrigerate overnight.

To prepare the tacos:

Heat about ½ inch of oil in a shallow, wide skillet. Toss the cold meat with the taco seasoning and the reserved juices until well combined – use your hands for even distribution. When the oil shimmers, grab a handful of the shredded rabbit and squeeze out most of the juice and put it into the hot oil. Repeat the squeezing process until there is an even layer of meat in the pan, and press down with a spatula once, then leave it alone. Let the bottom get crispy, then toss the meat and press the non-crispy side into the pan to crisp. When crispy, remove from the pan and drain, and repeat with the rest of the meat until all the rabbit has had a turn in the hot oil.

Meanwhile warm corn tortillas on a comal (or in a heavy skillet), dice red onions, chop cilantro, slice limes and cube some avocado, crumble some cotija cheese (optional)

Top a warm corn tortilla with about ¼ cup of the crispy meat, and the toppings of your choice.

*I got about 8 tacos per rabbit, but it really depends on the size of your kill and how stuffed you like your tacos!

**Please don’t use a packet from the grocery store! If you don’t already have a taco mix recipe that you love, find one! Or, you can just season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano and chile.

City Girl Learns to Cook and Love Game

Monday, November 23rd, 2015
Evin's son, Tristan, with cottontail he harvested.

Evin’s son, Tristan, with cottontail he harvested.

This is Passport to Texas

Evin Cooper is a writer, cook and mom. She’s a city girl who shares her life with Steven—a country boy who hunts. Their family eats what Steven brings home.

07—I had to learn to deal with it. I had to figure out how to cook all the random stuff that he brought home.

To Evin, meat had always come wrapped in plastic from the market. That changed when Steven challenged her perceptions about meat and her culinary skills with an unusual wild protein.

27—He brought me a raccoon. And, he’s like figure out how to cook it. So, I Googled, and read to soak it in milk for a day before you cook it. So, I soaked it in milk overnight. And then I opened the fridge, and I looked at it and I was like: ‘Ah, one more night will do it good.’ I soaked in milk for more night. And then I thought a third night would be great. I soaked it for so long it went bad.

Do you think that might have been a subconscious thing of not really wanting to eat a raccoon?

I don’t even think it was subconscious. I think it was entirely conscious.

Since then, Evin has consciously and happily prepared a wide variety of wild game, including cottontails.

05—Cottontail’s a very lean meat. And you have to cook it for a long time to really get the best quality out of it.

Tomorrow: Evin Cooper shares her simple and delicious recipe for cottontail carnitas.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunt |Food: Christopher Kimball on Wild Game

Monday, November 24th, 2014
America's Test Kitchen's Christopher Kimball

America’s Test Kitchen’s Christopher Kimball

This is Passport to Texas Food Week

Christopher Kimball, host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country on PBS TV, is a hunter in his home state of Vermont. But don’t expect to see much wild game cookery on his shows.

18—Years ago, I had a photograph of me holding up two or three rabbits that I had shot – because I do a lot of rabbit hunting in the winter. America Public Television distributes our show, and I think they sent out a warning indicating the stations may want to gray out that particular photograph. So, most people are not prepared for that, probably.

Some people are prepared, though – and ready to become hunters.

04—You see more women hunting now than you did. And, I think in certain parts of the country there’s more of it.

Kimball says if you plan to cook game, you must know the optimal cooking methods for each type of meat.

32—The tough, dark meat you braise slowly – like the back legs of the rabbit. But, the very lean tenderloin – or backstrap – that gets cooked in about five minutes. Some of that meat you can barely cook – like the tenderloin of a deer. You don’t want to cook it much over medium rare. But, if you have other cuts of meat that are tougher and really need a long, slow cooking – you really have to think about the cuts that way, because game meat isn’t fatty. And actually, that’s why they larded it. And I’ve done it – larded venison –because it needed the fat. It’s not like a 300 pound pig that’s got a lot of fat in it.

Learn to become a hunter in Texas, and find game recipes, on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.