Yesterday, on my usual run through a couple of local farmer’s markets, I was seeing one of my favourite vegetable growers, August Organics. They not only have amazing vegetables that appear in most of my recipes, but they preserve a lot as well: pickles, jellies and jams. While finishing up gathering my weekly bundle of veggies from them, the main man on the farm handed me a Christmas gift. A half sized jar of their wonderful raspberry jam. I was both taken aback and deeply grateful for their kindness. This is a concrete example of why I shop the way I do. You talk to human beings who have taken great care to bring you the best products possible and appreciate everyone who supports them.
I’m doing more Christmas baking this week and always incorporate their jam anyways in some of it. I was planning on bringing some for them anyways, but this is an even more special gift exchange when the ingredients speak so loudly to the both of us.
To today’s recipe….
I was planning on doing a rabbit in the slow cooker and was thinking the typical braise: onion, celery, carrot, etc, but it struck me as I seared the rabbit before putting it in the slow cooker: Why don’t I add some of the wonderful raspberry jam for flavour and use the resulting juices and other components around the rabbit to make a BBQ sauce? I’ve done similar ideas in the past with my Ham Hock Pulled Pork and Sweet and Sour Cherry Chicken recipes, so I knew it would work. And boy did it ever!
It’s easy to throw together and if you don’t have time to sear the rabbit, it’s ok to just throw it in the slow cooker as is.
And if you’re one of those “I can’t eat a cute bunny” folks, it’s ok, 7 or 8 chicken thighs would work just fine.
But my thought on eating rabbit: It reproduces prodigiously in great volume and have statistically short life spans. It’s like they’re designed for consumption. We would be doing our environmental duty by introducing more rabbit into our diet! 😉
Raspberry BBQ Rabbit Tacos
For the Raspberry BBQ Rabbit:
2 tsp cold pressed canola oil
1.2 kg/2.5 lb whole rabbit (or 7-8 chicken thighs)
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 756mL can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 156mL/6 oz can tomato paste
3 cups water
2 Tbsp fennel seeds
1/4 cup sweet paprika
In a large pot over medium high heat, heat the oil until nearly smoking. Add the whole rabbit, searing it on all sides until deeply golden. Transfer to a slow cooker.
Add the chicken stock to the pot you seared the rabbit in and scrape the bottom to bring up any brown bits that may have stuck to the bottom. Pour the stock and brown bits into the slow cooker with the rabbit.
Add the raspberry jam, onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, fennel seeds and paprika. Slow cook for 8 hours until the meat is very tender.
Remove the rabbit from the simmering juices, ensuring all of the bones are removed with it. Separate the meat from the bones. Rabbit have a few smaller bones to be mindful of, so take your time.
Purée the simmering juices with a hand blender and transfer the purée to a large pot.
For the Raspberry BBQ Sauce:
Reserved simmering juices purée
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
In a large pot, add the puréed juices with the maple syrup, vinegar and salt. Stir and simmer over medium heat for 20-25 minutes until a thick BBQ sauce texture is achieved. To serve, heat some of the shredded rabbit meat with the sauce and fold into whole wheat flatbreads or tortillas and serve with a basic slaw.