BAKED RABBIT with CREAM GRAVYCzech name: Králík na smetaně
Written by Petr Bergl
In the Czech Republic, there is a habit of eating adorable fluffy animals, this comes from the Czech cultural nature of living in small villages in the countryside. When the Earth was younger, only a minority of citizens lived in cities, and they had to get their food just from grain and animals on their fields. Unlike cows, goats, or sheep, rabbits don’t produce any raw material while alive (such as wool or milk), and therefore the best use comes with their death. The whole family, then gathers and enjoys this delicious meat full of proteins and other beneficial stuff. The rabbits live in a little “rabbit-prefab” called a hutch where they have approximately fifty square centimeters to live on. When their time comes, the head of the family (usually the eldest man) grabs their ears and kills them with a swift swing of the axe. Rabbits were mostly consumed during the time of Lent, when people couldn’t eat meat for forty days and decided to cheat on these rules by saying that rabbits and fish don’t count as meat. My grandma told me that she and her second husband also bred rabbits, but she couldn’t resist their beautiful eyes and decided to let them live.
1 – 1 1/2 lbs rabbit meat
3 slices smoked bacon
2 Tbs vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1 bunch of celery
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 cup lard
2 Tbs flour
lemon juice to taste
powdered sugar to taste
1 tsp full-bodied mustard
1 cup sour cream
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Marinate the rabbit meat one day before starting cooking: wash the meat, dry it, lay it into the pan and add an appropriate amount of salt and pepper for your taste. Cut the bacon and overlay the meat with these slices. Then add sliced onion, parsley, carrots, celery, vinegar, sugar and the rest of spices. Let the prepared meat sit for a day.
Next day, add the lard to the corned rabbit mixture and put the pan into the oven. Be sure to constantly baste the meat until it is soft. When it is, take the pan out of the oven, spread the vegetables a bit, add the sour cream, thicken with flour and boil it on the stove top for few minutes.
Finally, sweeten the sauce a little, acidify it with the lemon juice, add a spoon of mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
You can serve it with the Czech bread dumplings.
Enjoy your meal!