By Roger Findlay, Gerogery West
Every time I drive up the road at night, I see a wonderful resource right there before my eyes. Yes, a distant relative of the five that came over with the First Fleet in 1788.
I mentioned before that there’s nothing quite like a meal made from a Gerogery West rabbit but how can I get him from the paddock onto my plate when I live in a built-up area? Shooting and old trapping methods are illegal. Baits and poisons would kill but I wouldn’t want one on my plate! Road-kill springs to mind. (I’ve seen Whittingstall stop his car for a fresh one)!
Without success, I’ve tried small animal traps and the rabbit friendly tube trap that you stick in the burrow. What a dilemma.
Ferrets have to be the answer. But who do I contact to do the job? I am suggesting that the Shire Council Ranger requests expressions of interest from ferreters so that they can offer a recreational service to the residents with rabbit problems.
Now I’ve got my rabbit and he’s been dispatched by a humane method, I want to skin him while he’s warm to make it easy. I use kitchen shears to clip off the feet. The fur is lifted in the centre of the back and an incision is made with a sharp knife. With fingers of both hands in the incision, the fur is ripped both ways until only the legs and head require further attention. An incision is made in the stomach area taking care not to penetrate the bladder. The innards are then removed with one hand.
The rabbit is then washed and fat removed. Some people like to soak them in salt water.
For a delicious rabbit stew, I portion the rabbit and sprinkle with salt and pepper before browning in a pan with olive oil, onions and a bit of curry powder or paprika. I prepare carrots, parsnips and sweet potato before placing them in a slow cooker along with the rabbit portions and a pint of chicken stock. Raisins and sultanas are also a favourite of mine and bring added sweetness. I let the slow cooker do the work on the low setting for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally and adding garlic for the last hour.
Why not try it this winter? But first you need to catch a rabbit!