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Rabbit Stifado

Rabbit Stifado

Κουνέλι-Στιφάδο (Kouneli Stifado)

 

In the U.S., you can order rabbit by mail from D’Artagnan, a very dependable supplier of meat, game, and other specialty foodstuffs.

 

4-6 Rabbit legs 

1  pint grape tomatoes

1 lb pearl onions

6 cloves garlic

8 berries of allspice

1 cinnamon stick

10 baby potatoes

1 cup red wine

½ cup low sodium chicken stock

½ cup tomato sauce.

Bay leaf

 

Blanch onions to remove skins. 

Saute onions, garlic, and potatoes in good olive oil. Remove and set aside.

Season rabbit legs and dredge them in flour. Brown in oil, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove. 

Deglaze pan with red wine, reduce by half. Add stock, tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, allspice, cinnamon and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. 

Add rabbit, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Add onions, garlic, potatoes and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. 

Uncover, turn rabbit legs over, and simmer to reduce the broth until it thickens, 10-15 minutes

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Rabbit is a popular meal in other parts of the world, but folks in the U.S. don’t eat it very often. We think of bunnies as cute, cuddly pets. Or maybe, it’s because of Bugs’ iconic status. 

 

Rabbits are much more likely to be characters in our cartoons and children’s books than protein on our dinner plates. That’s a shame, because rabbit is not only delicious, lean, and healthy, but also much more sustainable than most of the meat we consume. Rabbits produce about six pounds of meat with the same amount of food, water, and energy it takes to produce one pound of beef. 

 

My favorite way to cook a rabbit is the Greek way: Stifado. I like the sweetness of the stewed pearl onions. The acidity of the tomato sauce is tempered by the warm cinnamon and allspice. And the garlic cloves peak through to remind you that this is Medditerranean cuisine. In Greece, Stifado is comfort food. Homestyle cooking! 

 

Like most things in Greece, there’s ancient mythology around rabbits and hares. They were associated with fertility and abundance. Called “the gift of Aphrodite,” lovers often exchanged rabbits as part of a courtship ritual. Presumably, that’s because bunnies reproduce so quickly. They encourage folks to think about sex. They’re little furry, cotton-tailed aphrodisiacs. No wonder the goddess Artemis--who was famously chaste--forbade rabbit sacrifices. 

 

Especially in far east and native American mythology, rabbit is associated with lunar cycles. And of course, that includes all the archetypal female reproductive symbolism that’s universally connected with the moon. As our guest says in this episode, “Maybe that’s where the Playboy bunny comes from.” 

 

Have you ever considered what it really means to “follow the white bunny?” Remember, Lewis Carroll’s 1865 book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is really a coming of age tale, a story of pubescent transformation. 

 

So, it makes perfect sense to cook up some Stifado while you think about feminism, reproductive rights, and gender equity. 

Pederastic_gifts_Macron_Louvre_G142_n3.j
By Macron as painter, Hieron as potter (signed) - Marie-Lan Nguyen (User:Jastrow), own work, 2008-06-07, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4182871

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