❤ An Easy Way To Break Down and Cook Whole Rabbits | Cooking Skills

❤- Ben, why don't people eat more rabbit?

- I don't know.

- Was it Bugs Bunny?

- He was a bit of a jerk actually.

- Are they intimidated to cook it?

- I am.

- Is it because people have them as pets?

- They really shouldn't,

they're actually pretty mean as pets.

- So we're here at

Bywater American Bistro.

We're gonna go see our

good friend, Nina Compton.

She's gonna teach us

how to cook a whole

rabbit and make a curry.

- Welcome to New Orleans!

- Cheers Ben.

- Where did you get that glass of wine?

- I'm in New Orleans.

- I don't have one, thanks a lot.

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We are in New Orleans

and when you are in New Orleans,

one of the very first

things you have to do

is visit Nina Compton.

Nina, thank you so much

for having us today.

- My pleasure, my pleasure.


- [Ben] Thank you.

- We are absolutely so excited,

and today we're gonna talk about rabbit,

which is not something that we

have a lot of experience

with at the butcher shop.

A lot of restaurants in New

York don't serve rabbit.

You do.

So I think that touches

on like one of the first

barriers to entry with rabbit is that

people are like, "Oh it's

cute, I can't eat it".

But, it's actually like,

a sustainable food,

and they're actually really easy to cook.

- Yes.

- Why do you think people

don't eat more rabbit?

- It's very lean as well, so

there isn't a lot of meat,

so it is tedious, but I

think it's really worth it.

- You're gonna use the whole animal,

you gotta get all that meat off of it.

- Yeah, it's a lot.

I had a friend that Frenched the ribs,

I'm like how did you do that?

They're so tiny.

- [Ben] We're doing a

curry today, correct?

- Yes.

So let's start.

- Yeah, let's do it.

Excited to talk about them because

whole rabbit, kinda like a whole chicken,

you really should buy the whole thing.

- We get the rabbits from

Sweet Caroline in Mississippi.

I'm just gonna open it up, so

you see here it's pretty lean.

And I think people can do at home.

So you treat it almost like a chicken

where you

cut the quarters off.

- [Ben] Just like right under the breast.

- Right under yes.

- Oh that's gorgeous.

You can tell how fresh these rabbits are

just looking at them.

- Yes.

- There is such thing as a rabbit loin,

it's ridiculously small and adorable.

Is that something that

you can actually serve?

- You can,

so it's right here.

So it looks like almost

like a little tenderloin.

- Looks exactly like a tenderloin.

- And that is so tiny

by the time you cook it,

it's smaller than my pinky,

so we just keep it on.

- This is great because even

when we break these down

in the shop, the very few

times we ever have them,

it's very much kind of like a

traditional way that

you would imagine like a

butcher in a movie chopping it up,

it's just like whack, whack,

you just like, the two

shoulders are separated,

the two loins are separated.

(upbeat music)

Can I do a couple?

- [Nina] Yes.

I have close to zero

experience with rabbit.

In New York you just

don't see rabbit on menus,

it just isn't there.

We've been in New Orleans 20 hours

and we've seen it on several menus.

It's really exciting but like,

I know it's a blind spot in my own

butchering and restaurant experience,

I haven't eaten it, I haven't

cooked it at all at home,

literally ever.

- Treat it like a chicken.

(upbeat music)

- So when we first opened the shop,

we wanted to carry different things so we

did get fresh rabbits

but we could only by them buy the case,

so it was 12 rabbits,

we were a new business,

I mean--

- It's a hard sell sometimes.

- A small business so we'd

maybe sell two a week.

I personally love them,

I just don't wanna

de-bone them every week.

- It's a lot of work because,

like I said there isn't a lot of meat

and the bones are so tiny,

so it is quite tedious when people say

I'm gonna de-bone a whole rabbit.

You do the whole thing like this,

the yield is so low.

But it is pretty delicious.

So we're gonna cure these

in equal parts salt and sugar

for four hours.

And then we're gonna confit them.

We roast the torso

and then we add brown chicken stock.

It is worth that time curing it I think

it's just like brining anything else.

It's just adding that salt

all the way through the muscular tissue.

- Yeah, so you're really

building several layers

of rabbit flavor into this one dish.

- Yes.

- Wow, so four hours, binge watch

your show that you wanna watch and then

come back and cook for

hour, hour and a half.

- That's how we do it.


So we're gonna cure these,

if you wanna grab the salt and sugar.

- Yes ma'am.

So it's not, it doesn't

need to be measured out,

it's just cover the surfaces--

- Yeah so you wanna do

like just a light cure.

I think a lot of people tend to

put too much salt sometimes

and that really cooks

the outside of the rabbit

and you don't want that.

Just be generous, treat it with respect

and that really helps for the

end product of what you get.

- [Ben] Yeah.

The legs are gonna be

the majority of our meat.

- Yes.

We do one leg

per order and then

part of the curry built into the sauce

is gonna be some of this meat.

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So we're gonna put these away

and then we're gonna roast these

and then we're gonna

start building the curry.

- [Ben] I wish I was more adept

at using this amount of spices.

This is like a neverending math equation.

- It's a lot, but it's like,

it's a skill I wish I had.

- What I the inspiration

behind this rabbit dish?

- So yeah it's curry,

I'm from Saint Lucia and

curry's a big thing for us,

that's my comfort food,

like on a rainy day I

want a big bowl of curry

and some rice.

We have a lot of open-air markets,

and you go down to the market at 5 a.m.,

it's full of produce and fish and beef

and everybody's just like gathering,

and you can smell

the fresh thyme, you can

smell the fresh curry leaves,

you have cinnamon.

Smelling those aromas, I'm like

this just makes sense to just

put this with fish or put

this with rabbit or chicken,

it's just something that just

came second nature to me.

With all these spices,

it's really a pain to pick the spices out,

so we just tie it up in a sachet.

So here we have star anise,

and then clove,


and then a lot of cardamom.

To build any curry I

think the biggest spice

that is really the most fragrant

is the green cardamom.

- I know curries are kind of

can be even family-specific,

not just region-specific,

so is this

is this your family or

is this your specific way

that you've developed.

- This is my way that I like to do curry.

I think a lot of people

don't use fresh curry leaves enough,

I don't see them very often.

It just sets that curry apart I think.

Okay so then I'm gonna have you tie up

one of the torsos.

- [Ben] So far what we've

built is for the broth?

- [Nina] Yes.

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- [Ben] And now we're gonna build a curry?

- Now we're gonna build a curry.

Nice hot pan,

olive oil,


- This is great,

I've never made it with

someone who's like,

"No, I actually know what I'm doing."


- I think for the home cook,

I think it's really not going too extreme

with some spices,

I think a lot of people go

too forward on some spices

and it kind of kills everything,

you have to find that happy balance of

what you really wanna shine.

Do you want it to be the cardamom?

Do you want it to be the cinnamon?

(upbeat music)

And then we're gonna add

our sachet.

Just tuck it in there.

And then we're gonna add the torso

back into there.

And then we're gonna let this simmer

just until all the meat comes off

and it's nice and tender.

- I mean for the amount of flavor

that's going into this,

this is actually like, once it's prepared,

once you have everything together,

fairly simple.

It's not too much,

like I was having an anxiety attack

with everything on the table,

now it's like, oh,

all these things together, wrap them up,

put them here, and then--

- And it's not that hard because I think

this is something that somebody

can do at home and just

set it and forget it.

It's very, very simple.

This is restaurant-style

but you could do it without

braising the torso,

you could buy the legs

and confit them and make

the curry jus separately

and then just finish it.

- It's an approachable project.

You know you're gonna get

the meat from the legs,

you're building a spice kit,

and then this is,

this already looks like it's

gonna feed us for a couple days

and we're using the whole rabbit.

You bought the whole thing,

you're gonna use the whole thing,

plenty of meat but also

just a ton of flavor,

I can only imagine this

left over day three

is like even better.

- Because the flavors

like really marinate.

(upbeat music)

So now the curry is done

so we're gonna pull the rabbit out

and I'm gonna keep the sachet in here.

So then I add the coconut milk

once the braise is done.

Let that come together.

So we plate our jasmine rice.

And I'm a big textural person so

we top it with toasted

you say pecans or pecans?

- I say pecans.

- I say pecans.

- You say pecans.

I kinda go back and forth,

I flip flop sometimes,

I don't even know what I say.

- [Ben] Yeah, I had to

think about it for a second,

I was like, I can't remember.

- Put the curry on top.

There's the leg.

- [Ben] Oh that is beautiful.

- You really wanna put a

nice amount of the curry.

Because that rice really

soaks everything up.

- Also just the way that curry smells,

I want a lot of it.

- Three days.

I'll give you some to go,

you'll have it in three days.

- [Ben] That is gorgeous.

- [Nina] And that is for you guys to eat.

- Wow.

- This is so exciting.

- You have actually managed

to take the intimidation

not just out of curry but like out of

cooking a rabbit.

I actually feel pretty

confident about this now.

- Good.

Well cheers.

- Cheers.

- Welcome to New Orleans

and rabbit and curry.


- [Brent] Thank you so much.

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- This is so fantastic

but also so New Orleans specific.

Fantastic dish, thank you so much.

- The texture's phenomenal.

I thought it would just be like

braised into just kinda being like mush,

but it's, it really has

still that body to it.

I just realized I've been

cooking rabbit wrong.

- I mean that also

makes it so approachable

that like you're gonna buy the whole thing

and you can actually do this

in an hour and a half.

Like that's an,

actually achievable weeknight meal.

- It also makes sense

you would use the thigh

because I mean even looking at the animal,

the thigh is by far the biggest part,

it's the meatiest part,

everything else has a lot

of smaller bones to it

and you're gonna have to braise it

or have an intern like just

pick all that meat off.

- I know.

- It presents totally approachable

like a chicken leg does,

but you kinda know, oh

there's just two bones,

you don't have a ton of tiny bones.


- Yeah.


- If you like chicken, you'll like rabbit.

It's like even lighter than chicken

and everyone in the world likes chicken,

and so go buy a damn rabbit.

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