Slovak Roast Rabbit
Rabbit used to be a much more commonly eaten meat in Slovakia, when most people kept a pig, rabbits, and chickens in their backyard. Today it is still eaten although not as much.
I know, rabbits are these soft cuddly sweet animals. Well, sometimes sweet. My in laws once had their rabbits stolen except for one, and when my husband opened the door he quickly learned why as the rabbit lunged toward him with teeth bared and claws at the ready.
We once had a rabbit that was given to us, as it had been sold as a small pet rabbit but was obviously a very large meat rabbit. It kept growing and growing, and I got tired of having one more thing to take care of. An American friend came to visit and asked if we still had the rabbit. My oldest, about four at the time, answered frankly, “No, we ate him.”
Rabbit is a lean meat, and as such can tend towards being dry. What’s the secret to succulent tender baked rabbit? Bacon of course! A long slow bake rather than a fast quick one also helps.
Honestly, this Slovak style of roast rabbit is even easier to put together than baked chicken, especially cutting it apart.
- 1 rabbit
- 4 cloves garlic
- 150g (5oz) bacon
- 1/2 cup water
- Wash rabbit and cut apart - each of the legs, then the body in half crossways and again lengthwise down one side of the spine.
- Lightly rub salt on each piece and place into casserole dish or roasting pan with water.
- Sprinkle garlic on meat, then lay bacon over top.
- Bake at 350F/180C for about two hours, basting every once in a while.
- To give rabbit some colour, push bacon to the sides and bake another 15 min.
- You can make gravy with the juices if desired.
- Serve hot.
Nov 25, 2016 @ 17:30:20
We (my dad actually) raised rabbits for meat when I was a kid. I ate it then when mom would fry it, but I have not had it since, so not for many many years!
Nov 25, 2016 @ 23:05:18
Neat! Do you remember how she cooked it? I’ve only really cooked it like this.
Nov 28, 2016 @ 01:39:38
We do raise meat rabbits here in Pennsylvania. I have never baked it b/c it tends to be too dry (usually do the crockpot), but this recipe looks great and I hope to try it sometime soon. Thanks for the suggestion.
Nov 28, 2016 @ 08:38:43
Hope you like it!
Nov 28, 2016 @ 01:56:19
When I was a teenager, I stayed with a family in France for 2 weeks. They kept rabbits. I am not aware of having eaten rabbit yet. But this post got me curious: https://eatingheaven.com/2014/08/17/rabbit-stew/
Now your post has gotten me more curious. Fortunately the Amish network of farmers we buy food from sells rabbit. Looking forward to trying it this winter! Thanks Naomi. I love reading your blog and look forward to your posts 🙂
Nov 28, 2016 @ 08:47:43
The term ‘rabbit stew’ always reminds me of a childhood rhyme. The recipe looks delicious – so many ways to cook rabbit!
Nov 28, 2016 @ 03:24:04
I was born after the war and the only meat available many times was what we raised. We had chickens, rabbits and a goat for milk (we lived in a city so no pigs).
My mother was a magician with rabbits. She backed them, deboned them and fried them like schnitzels, she braised them with vegetables, made goulash, paprikash or “svieckova”. Svieckova was the favorite or mine. She rarely baked them, used bacon like you. One of the fancier recipes I remember was a baked rabbit in palacinka like dough, it was delicious.
Nov 28, 2016 @ 08:51:02
Wow – she was a magician! Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. If you know how to cook the rabbit in palacinka, I’d love to hear about it. I’ve got a lot more ideas of what to cook with the next rabbits we get now!
Nov 28, 2016 @ 06:50:48
Looks great! I’ve never cooked a rabbit before, and this looks so easy!
Also, I’ve just found out that they’re selling the rabbits at our local farmer’s market. I saw them and thought “wouldn’t know what to do with them”.
Yet, the lean meat is a new way to go!
I have seen Leonardo di Caprio’s new documentary Before the Flood – available free on NatGeo here: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/before-the-flood/?gclid=CJu564va-M8CFQVahgodoFwFxw&gclsrc=aw.ds
One of the recommendations on how to curb the climate change is … wait for it, to eat less beef (listen America) and substitute it with other lean protein!
Add a local farmer’s market (e.g. less emissions – from farm to fork …).
It’s a win-win for everyone!
And our local little town in New Jersey developed farmer’s market recently into a venue with live music, next to our Town Hall, and brought some life and real Face-to Face community life into the culture of megastores. This Saturday event grew so big, they had to move to a huge parking lot near our Athletic facility joined with the health clinic. On Saturdays, otherwise half empty parking lot remind me some European village downtown with people strolling, friends getting together to shop and talk, listen to music and really seeing each other. Nobody was reaching for cellphones. The market founder was cooking a meal for the soup kitchen charity, using local produce vendors.
As I said, Naomi: your simple Slovak rabbit recipe can serve as a grassroot backdrop for many win-win situations.
(P.s. Other recipe: My mom used to substitute rabbit for chicken in paprikash meals)
Nov 28, 2016 @ 10:16:53
I’m a big fan of local and sustainable farming! I love the idea of the community coming together, what a great initiative. Shopping centres are popping up like mushrooms in nearby Trnava and I want to say noooooo….
I haven’t watched the documentary, but it is possible to raise beef in a way that actually benefits the earth and captures more carbon: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ranchers-carbon-grazing-profits-greenhouse-gases-1.3858188
We need to eat more than just muscle meats though – part of my love for bones and offal 🙂
This recipe is really easy – here’s to grassroots movements!!
Nov 28, 2016 @ 17:04:32
Only had rabbit one time and loved it. It made the best gravy. Unfortunately the farmers around here don’t raise rabbits. The one I had was from a 4H project so when the project was finished so were the rabbits.
As for beef, I only buy local pasture raised, grass fed/finished beef. I’ve got a beef heart in the freezer that I’m trying to get up the courage to cook.
Nov 28, 2016 @ 23:14:42
Beef heart – have you seen the beef heart curry I have up on here? It’s more of a sweet Moroccan type curry than Indian or Japanese. https://www.almostbananas.net/sweet-beef-heart-curry/
Beef heart is best two ways – either very thinly sliced (try cutting when partially frozen), perhaps marinated and cooked quick and hot, or a long slow simmer. It doesn’t have a strong taste like liver, just a bit of a different texture than normal muscle meats. Good luck!
Nov 28, 2016 @ 18:19:39
In Slovakia, when I was growing up, I was almost tricked by my cousins…Making rabbit paprikash, my aunt did not say anything, only when I tried it, I could say it was not a chicken. For my cousins normal, one minute you are cuddling the bunny, bringing dry grass to eat, the next it is being prepared for a pot. Quite hard to explain here (England) where they are mostly pets…Good job I never lived in China. No chance explaining that here about dogs:)
Nov 28, 2016 @ 23:16:12
One time we had two friends over (both from Asia) who were arguing over which was better to eat – cat or dog 🙂 I’ve seen photos of bbq rat for street food…now that would be a stretch for me!
Nov 29, 2016 @ 13:20:49
This would be new to many, But, in the country EG Germany/Czech .people breed rabbits ( LARGE) like we breed chicken’s.
My Czech mother would put INSIDE ( under skin) Chicken ” Breast” so not to be Too dry..this is a “old trick”.and the smoky taste of bacon gives the dry chicken what it needs.Rabbits would be the same.
Nov 29, 2016 @ 14:17:09
Bacon under the skin on a chicken breast – brilliant! I will have to try this next time I bake a chicken. Nobody in our family is a fan of chicken breast precisely because it is dry. The wild rabbits around here are also huge! Where I’m from wild rabbits are small bunnies, here they are massive.
Nov 29, 2016 @ 18:23:22
When my family was young and we lived in the city I had such a desire to raise food, and had the great idea of raising rabbits. One day while driving I saw a sign the read “Rabbits for Sale”, so I stopped.
I rang the doorbell and a stern looking woman in her 60’s answered. I told her I was looking for some rabbits and asked her the breed she was selling. She looked me up and down and asked “What are you going to use them for?”. I panicked and hesitated as I scrambled for an answer. I decided honesty would be best and told her I was going to raise them for food for my family. She cracked a smile and responded, “Smart woman, meet me around back”.
Turns out she and her husband were retired farmers and she wanted to keep raising food for them in the city. She showed my her rabbits and was a wealth of information. She promised to set me up with what I needed and sent me home with some meat for us to try. My family didn’t like it and a few years later we ended up moving to the country and raising chickens, but I will never forget meeting her.
Nov 30, 2016 @ 09:53:49
What a great story!
Dec 11, 2016 @ 07:27:34
My mom used to stuff the rabbit with cut up bread rolls (rozky), chicken liver, chicken heart, eggs, onion, garlic, parsley and spices, and then baked it. It was really yummy. Bring back memories. 🙂
Dec 11, 2016 @ 21:59:56
Mmmm, sounds good! Another rabbit recipe to try.
Oct 14, 2018 @ 22:58:09
tried this recipe tonight, it came out perfect. i added peas at the end. very simple but delicious. i would try this again.
Oct 24, 2018 @ 13:50:55
So glad it turned out well, thanks for letting me know!