He is committed to using every part of the animal, although he
admits that the hindquarters are the most versatile. Usually, he
braises the meat and shreds it for sausage or sauces. He sears
the saddle and uses the ribs and bones for stock and sauce.
“The rabbits are unique. They eat apples. That’s all. And they
are huge. Unlike most rabbits, which have an average weight
of about 3 pounds, these are almost 6 pounds. The meat is
tender, but with an amazing flavor.”
In upstate New York, in the rural town of Milan, chef/
proprietor Jamie Parry operates Another Fork in the Road,
a farm-to-table restaurant that draws on a growing clientele
from miles around. Parry serves a popular breakfast
and lunch, but it is dinner, with its ever-changing menu,
depending on what comes to the door, that is garnering
attention. One evening may feature a Beaufort stew or
chickpea fritters with ricotta and pepper salad. On another
evening, there is corn pudding with porcini cream and duck
confit cassoulet, and rabbit paella.
Most of Parry’s produce and all of his rabbits come from a
single producer, who prefers to remain nameless, just up the
road. “She sells to a few area restaurants, but I am her first
stop and get to pick whatever I want,” he says.
ABOVE: City Tavern serves rabbit legs, marinated and braised, with a mushroom/
vegetable/red wine sauce and wide egg noodles.
In addition to the paella, Parry serves a rabbit lasagna with
Swiss chard and butternut squash, and makes a Bolognese
with shredded meat that has been braised with carrots and
onions. For rillettes, he takes the shredded meat, mixes it with
garlic, herbs and duck fat, and smears it on toast. He freezes
the livers until he has enough to make a liver mousse.
“There is no question that the meat I am using is far superior
to anything I could buy commercially,” Parry says. “It is an
animal that has had a happy life and lived like a rabbit should.
You can taste it in the meat.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Concepts By Staib, Ltd.
Although roast rabbit was an 18th century and 19th century
staple, usually cooked whole, and to today’s taste, probably
stringy and tough, one can sample a more refined preparation
at Philadelphia’s City Tavern. Under chef/owner Walter Staib,
City Tavern recreates many of the earlier American dishes.