“Have you ever taken legs off a chicken? The back legs are a ball and socket, like on a chicken. Find where the thighs meet with the spine, and cut through the joint. With the forelegs, cut underneath the shoulder blade.”
Beard framing his face mask, Nick DeLauri stood outside Vermont Butcher Shop, his sustainable meatery in Londonderry, and explained how to break down the whole rabbit he had brought me curbside. “Now you have just the spine and loins. Take the sternum and neck off, chunk the rest out with a cleaver, and braise the whole thing.”
A little Dijon mustard, white wine, herbs, and cream, and the lapin à la moutarde I prepared — fragrant, tender, and mildly gamey — couldn’t have been easier or more delicious. Nor could the rabbit livers I pan-seared, or the rillettes I whipped up the next day with the leftovers. I made a stock from the bones, then blitzed the meat with some of that stock in a food processor. A cinch.
I had bought that bunny on a whim to serve to my COVID-19 pod at our rental house. Now, having cooked it, I wasn’t just curious; I was seriously interested in why I hadn’t been cooking it all along. “Rabbits have such a small footprint on our world, and the manure is great for compost for our garden,” says Lisa Webster, co-owner of Maine’s North Star Sheep Farm, where