Do you enjoy eating rabbit meat, and perhaps you would like to treat your partner to a rabbit dinner at a fancy restaurant? So you phone the restaurant up, and you want to ask if they serve rabbit on their menu. Suddenly this feels awkward as you are unsure what you should ask for (pork, beef, or mutton).
So what is rabbit meat called?
Rabbit meat is called “rabbit meat.” Unlike popular meat such as chicken, poultry, pork, or cow, known as beef, rabbit is a less popular meat and delicacy. Not many people cook rabbits or serve them at restaurants. For this reason, it’s known as “rabbit meat.” In France, it’s called Viande de lapin.
If you want to learn more about rabbit meat and what it’s called, this detailed guide has all the information you’ll need.
What Kind of Meat Is Rabbit Meat?
Raw rabbit meat is bright pearly pink in color and a fine-grained and tender type of meat. Rabbit meat is defined under different categories depending on the various sciences, such as culinary arts, nutritional science, and gastronomy.
Let’s take a closer look at how rabbit meat is defined under the different sciences:
- The culinary arts define rabbit meat as fine-grained white meat, as it comes from young mammals and doesn’t have a “gamey” taste.
- The nutritional sciences define rabbit as red meat as it has a higher level of myoglobin (a certain type of protein) than white meat.
- Gastronomy defines rabbit meat as red meat because the meat has a dark color when it has been cooked or boiled.
Rabbit meat is very popular in the nutrition and diet world as it has very little fat content, is cholesterol-free, and is low in calories. Most people compare the taste of rabbits to chicken.
Rabbit meat does contain bones similar to that of chicken. A rabbit’s skeletal system makes up about 8% of its body weight.
Did you know? The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) classifies rabbit meat as poultry. (#true)
Is Rabbit Meat Called Venison?
Initially, rabbit meat fell under venison. The term venison was applied to any game animal that is killed by hunting, such as:
- Wild boar (Suidae)
- Hares, rabbits, and jackrabbits (Leporidae)
- True deer (Cervidae)
- Wild goats (Capra)
However, today venison refers to the meat of animals that have hooves and antlers, such as moose or deer. Therefore, rabbit isn’t called venison.
Is Rabbit Meat Called Mutton?
Today, rabbit meat is known as “rabbit meat.” However, based on history, some people refer to meat as mutton.
In the 1900s, meat such as lamb or mutton was too expensive for the average person or household.
People would consume rabbit meat when the butcher’s meat was too expensive. This is where the term “underground mutton” was coined.
Let’s take a quick look at some other coined phrases for meat during this time:
1. A dish that consisted of melted cheese on freshly buttered toast was known as a Welsh rabbit.
2. A casserole made of liver and potatoes was known as a poor man’s goose.
3. Any dish with sprats (a small type of fish) was known as weaver’s beef.
4. A dish made from bummalo fish was known as Bombay duck.
Did you know? Back then, rabbits were bred in great numbers and lived all over the countryside. The rabbits became pests to the locals and would eat their crops and grass. It was easy to hunt the rabbits down and sell them as underground mutton.
What Do the French Call Rabbit Meat?
The French word for rabbit is lapin.
Viande de lapin means rabbit meat. The French prefer to eat rabbit meat from young rabbits that are specially farmed for their meat. They refer to this meat as Lapereaux.
Let’s take a look at two famous French rabbit meat dishes:
Civet de Lapin
Civet de Lapin is a traditional dish in France that is typically prepared in the winter months. The stew is made with rabbit meat and the blood of the rabbit. The ingredients include:
- Butter and flour
- Red wine
The rabbit’s blood is added to thicken the sauce of the stew. The dish is served when the meat is tender. Boiled potatoes are often served as a side, and the meal is enjoyed with a glass of red wine.
Lapin ȧ la Crème
Another traditional dish that originated in France is Lapin ȧ la Crème. This famous dish is made with the following ingredients:
- Young rabbit meat
- Dry white wine
- Smoked bacon
- Egg yolks
- Crème fraîche (sour cream)
- Bunch of herbs known as a bouquet garni in France
The rabbit meat is diced and browned. All the ingredients are added to the pot and the dish is left to cook slowly over low heat.
What Is Rabbit Meat Called in a Restaurant?
Rabbit meat has become increasingly popular over the years and is a delicacy on several restaurant menus.
Most restaurants are comfortable calling rabbit meat “rabbit meat” as it doesn’t fall under any specific meat category, such as pig meat (pork) or cow meat (beef).
Let’s take a look at how most restaurants advertise cooked rabbit meat on their menus:
- Rabbit pie is made from wild rabbit meat and originated in England. The pie consists of celery, onions, swede, carrots, cider, and gravy and is covered with a thick pastry crust.
- Rabbit stew is a rich stew made from rabbit meat, onions, celery, red wine, butter, button mushrooms, bacon, and rabbit stock.
- Rabbit and dumplings are other popular dishes. The ingredients include rabbit meat, celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. For the dumplings, the ingredients include flour, butter, milk (plant-based milk as an alternative), and baking powder.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Rabbit meat is a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to chicken. Although this meat doesn’t have a specific category, it can be used in many different ways, such as stews, soups, and casseroles.
Many people have changed to rabbit meat, as its health benefits outweigh common meats such as mutton and pork. Rabbit meat contains essential vitamins and minerals and has fewer unhealthy fats.
You might not find rabbits on the menu in every restaurant or available at most butcheries.
This is because some people feel that eating rabbits is like eating a pet and that the slaughtering method is cruel – rabbits are classified as poultry by the USDA, which means they don’t need to be unconscious when slaughtered.