This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Rabbit meat evidently occupies an equivocal position in the list of delicacies. It is unquestionably good food. Young rabbit compares favorably with chicken and is made to do duty for chickeh sometimes, particularly in the way of canned chicken, potted chicken and in puree soups and pies. Yet one may see that rabbit is not regarded as a luxury in this country in the fact that it is never found in the bill of fare of the dearer class of restaurants and is never in the game course of any high-class dinner, although it may occasionally be found in some more elaborate shape amongst the entrees. It makes all the difference whether such game is scarce and has to be guarded and fostered by gamekeepers in private hunting preserves, or whether it is so plentiful naturally as to be the cheapest of all meat, as it now is in nearly every place, for the western farmers find the rabbit a pest that despoils them of their growing crops, and turn out in winter in concert and destroy them as vermin by the wagon loads.
In Australia the plague of rabbits is so serious as to claim the attention of the government, and the canning of rabbit meat and export of rabbits in a frozen state has made this meat as plentiful and common in London as it is in our western towns after a heavy fall of snow, when rahbits arc taken by the thousands. Still it supplies a vast amount of good, fresh meat to tens of thousands of poor people who might otherwise seldom taste any. The foreign styles of dressing rabbits here mentioned are to elucidate the contents of French menus; the home methods of cooking rabbits may be at once summed as being thasame well-known ways as for chickens.
" Paul, I hear, has made a splendid thing of it. He made his name by means of certain specialties of his, which nagourmtt who respects himself can, if anywhere near Pourville, pass on without tasting. These specialites are Canard au sang, Matelotbs Normande, and Lapereau a la poulette, in all of which Paul, who is his own chef, excels. Cut up your rabbit into pieces. Fry these in butter until firm; but not long enough to brown them. Let the butter run off, and let the meat get cold. Then lard the fleshy parts with strips of excellent bacon. Put the pieces back into the saucepan, with a spoonful of flour and a bouquet of herbs, moistening with a glassful of white wine and a little bouillon. When the cooking is half finished, add some onions, some mushrooms cut into pieces, and allow the stewing to finish over a slow fire. When well cooked, strain the sauce, skim off fat, bind with the yolks of two eggs, and pour it over the meat which you have meanwhile arranged on a dish. Just before serving, squeeze the juice of one lemon all over the dish".
Bone the thighs and legs, replace the bones by pieces of bacon, sew up the openings so as to put the limbs in proper shape again, and put it on the fire in a saucepan with slices of bacon, small onions, carrots, thyme, parsley, a bay leaf, and some stock. Let f.he whole cook for two hours on a slow fire; then strain off the stock, and serve the rabbit, cut up, en spinach.
Cut the fillets from two rabbits, lard them with fat bacon, and shortly before they are wanted put them into a tin in a hot oven, with plenty of butter, and a little salt strewn over them (the tin should be covered with a sheet of buttered paper); they will only take a few minutes to dress, and should be served with the dish garnished with small mushrooms, slices of lemon and parsley. Liver sauce is generally sent to table with them.
Boned rabbit. Pieces with the bones taken out. Some rabbit meat rurt through the sausage machine and made into forcemeat with bread-crumbs and seasonings, part of it stuffed in place of the bones, some spread on the outside of the pieces, egged, breaded, fried; fumet sauce made of the bones, with wine.
Potted rabbit. Wash a large rabbit, and cut into joints; dredge with flour, and fry lightly in butter or dripping, with a few pieces of lean ham. The meat should only be half cooked. Place immediately in a stew jar with pepper, salt, and the chopped rind of half a small lemon. Cover the meat with gravy or stock, and stew gently for two hours. About twenty minutes before serving thicken the gravy with a little cornflour, and simmer in it a few forcemeat balls.
Stewed rabbit with Soubise sauce.
Rabbit pie, hot.
White stew with button onions and mushrooms.
Young rabbits flattened, cooked on the broiler, spread with maitre d'hotel butter, served with border of buttered toast in triangular shapes.
Stuffed and roasted, brown onion sauce.