Sunday 13 January 2013

Lamb and Rabbit on the Menu

Those who do not like to know about our meat production, please look away now. You will not want to read this post.

We are progressing deliciously through our supply of lamb, with Liz trying out all manner of recipes and cooking methods which we have not, up to now tried. Liz has now developed a superb way with the chops, which get fried fast on the griddle with salt sprinkled into the (minimal) fat. She has also done a slow-roasted shoulder so meltingly tender that it needed no carving - you could honestly have picked up the bones and given them a good shake and you would have had a plateful of meat. What I actually did was lift out the blocks of meat from either side of the 'ridge' which runs down the length of the shoulder blade and that did us for that meal. The rest we dismantled into ribs and other bits for a 'Greek style' finger-food meal a couple of days later. Tonight we are having the cheapest 'breast' cuts (bits from around neck and in front of shoulder cut) done in the slow cooker.

We have also slaughtered our first 'crop' of young rabbits, these being the progeny of the formerly niece's doe rabbit Padfoot and the NZ White buck belonging to mentors Anne and Simon. Our three successfully 'hatched' baby bunnies came up to 3 months old as we came into January and were quickly outpacing our own buck (Rogers) for size and would also have been approaching sexual maturity. We are told that after three months they do not grow fast any more and tend to just get tougher, so we bit the bullet and slaughtered them. It goes without saying that we did this as quickly, quietly, calmly, respectfully and in a manner as stress free as we could manage, though I do appreciate that some of our readers will still think very dimly of us for it. So be it.

The rabbits had reached weights of, in fact 2340 g, and the three carcasses came out at 1144 g, 1074 g and 1206 g, way heavier than we have ever got from shot wild bunnies we used to buy in the UK. Liz has now cooked the first of these, casseroling the jointed meat in a creamy mustard sauce. We both agree that it was easily the most delicious and meaty rabbit we had ever experienced, and definitely something we will do again. Anne, though, advises us that we would be better using a 'proper, meat-breed, doe' instead of the 'pet rabbits', Ginny and Padfoot.

She has such a doe which we will be adopting, already mated to Peter, this spring. We are also only going to do this bunny-rearing in spring and summer so that they can eat mainly grass, rather than having to fatten up on the expensive 'muesli', easily the most expensive animal feed we use at €22 for 25kg. For this reason our buck, Rogers has now been separated from his women and is temporarily housed in the Maternity Unit (now the 'Bachelor Pad') pending me building him a run. Mind you, I am not 100% sure he has, or ever had, any romantic intentions towards Ginny and Padders and , come to think of it, might even be female himself. I will check him out when I next have him in my hands.


Anne Wilson said...

How Much!!!??? 22 euro for 25kg! Wow, we only pay 17.50 for 25kg of Organic layers pellets and there is far less stuff in rabbit food. Our rabbits just get a handful of straight grain, oats and or wheat, plus grass and veg trimmings. They should be getting all the minerals they need from the ground and grass.They seem to be thriving on the straight grains.

Matt Care said...

Thanks for this, Anne. We are transferring as of next time the bag runs out - in fact I may get some tomorrow to blend with our remnant-of-bag, wean them off the "muesli" which is already being used 50/50 with the remnant of 'fast lamb crunch' we had left over.