Rabbits, rabbits, everywhere I look; in Greece and Alaska, rabbits.
In Alaska, our home is surrounded by rabbits. We live close to the site where the old Rabbit Hutch Restaurant once raised and served domesticated rabbit. When it burned down many years ago, the rabbits were freed. They’ve bred with wild cousins; their many progeny now populate our neighborhood. To date, we haven’t killed any, but the same cannot be said for our cat Bob, a fearsome rabbit hunter. He eats them, bones, fur, and all.
In Greece, our village’s economy depends on wheat and barley farming. In the last 10 years, rabbit populations have spun out of control, ravaging newly sprouted fields, and destroying entire seasons worth of crops. As a result, local hunters work diligently to keep rabbit populations in check, sharing their bounty with fellow villagers.
One night after dark, I came home alone from visiting friends. When I went to get a glass of water, I noticed an ominous dark shape looming outside our kitchen window. Armed with a broom, I went to investigate and discovered a large bag of freshly killed rabbits hanging from the shutter, a surprise gift from a friend on his way home from hunting. I placed an emergency call to a cousin who talked me through skinning and cleaning rabbit over the telephone.
September is grouse hunting season on our Greek island, an activity taken very seriously. Gearing up can be expensive; the cost of hunting dogs, guns, off-road vehicles, and travel can easily run into thousands of Euro. If hunters are lucky, they may get 1-2 grouse. If grouse aren’t bagged, as many as 60 rabbits might be a hunter’s consolation prize.
In September, rabbit is common village fare. Last week, two of my friends, excellent village cooks, served braised rabbit for dinner, but cooked it different ways. I decided to try both their recipes. Both were delicious; I’ll make each recipe again.