We’ve got so much rabbit and so very little freezer space right now, with more rabbits on the way. We needed to do something with all this rabbit and let’s face it, I’m getting a little tired of just braising it.
Rabbit’s a very lean meat and can be quite tough if it’s not cooked right, which usually means either cooked very quickly or cooked for a very long time at a low heat. Since Tom is rather squeamish about rare or even medium rare meat, we have to go with the long cook time.
However, there is another way you can prepare tough meat. Tough cuts from any animal whether it’s beef, pork or rabbit lend themselves very well to grinding.
But of course it wouldn’t just be rabbit. Because sausage needs 25-30% fat I needed to add pork fatback. But I didn’t stop there. My goal was a very flavorful sausage so it had to have asiago cheese and porcini mushrooms. But wait! It needed something more! Garlic! Yes garlic.
Unfortunately, Tom proclaimed that it smelled like a foot. He said the cheese smelled like a foot. The mushrooms smelled like a foot and now the fridge smells like a foot. Tom does NOT like stinky cheese, which, in my opinion, is quite a shame. I’m hoping this recipe works for him.
Unfortunately we’re out of fresh garlic, but we have some really good dried garlic. So here’s my recipe:
Rabbit Sausage with Porcinis, Asiago, and Garlic:
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 2 Whole Rabbits (3-3 1/2 lbs each), de-boned and cut into 1/2″ chunks
- 1 1/4 lb pork fatback, cut into chunks
- 1/2 lb Asiago cheese, cut into chunks
- 1.5 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 Tbs dried minced garlic
- 3 Tbs Kosher salt
- 10+ feet of pork casings (optional)
WHAT TO DO:
1. Rehydrate mushrooms in 2 cups hot (not boiling) water. Put mushrooms in water into fridge overnight to chill.
2. Drain mushrooms reserving 1 cup of liquid. Return liquid to fridge.
3. Combine everything but the liquid in a large bowl and put in freezer until very cold, just short of freezing solid. Also freeze the detachable parts of meat grinder that will be coming into contact with the meat.
4. Reassemble meat grinder and run meat mixture through and into a bowl set in ice (I use the bowl to our stand mixer). I use the smallest die that came with the grinder.
5. Using my stand mixer (mine is the smaller Kitchen Aid mixer so I have to do this in batches), I quickly mix half of the ground meat adding 1/2 of the reserved mushroom liquid to evenly distribute the spices. I repeat with the second half and then combine it all in one large bowl. Don’t over mix or you’ll end up with an emulsified sausage – mix just enough to distribute everything evenly.
6. Cook a small patty to check and adjust seasonings as needed. Return to the freezer to chill again.
7. You can choose to stop here and use it to make breakfast sausage or you can stuff it into casings.
I have to admit, or more like my husband has to admit, smelling like a foot can sometimes be a very good thing. The porcinis I feel are a bit overpowered by the garlic and asiago though, so I think next time I’ll save my money and omit them.
So what did we do with the sausages? We’ve added them to spaghetti sauce and lasagna. We’ve eaten them on homemade rolls with homemade sauerkraut and eaten them as snacks when out and about. I even add them to soup. Sometimes you don’t need a special recipe to use them because they are the special recipe.
MORE FROM RACHEL:
- Raised Beds versus Rows
- A Rough Kidding Season
- Growing Tender Celery
- Household Items You Can Use in the Garden
- Buyer Beware! Don’t Plant Those Seedlings Just Yet
Rachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better!