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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/863

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RECIPES FOR COOKING HARE AND RABBIT

salt and pepper, and add the mace. Put on the cover, which should fit as closely as possible, and cook gently for 45 minutes, turning the pieces over and basting frequently. Meanwhile melt the remainder of the butter in another stewpan, add the flour, stir and cook gently for a few minutes without browning, then add the stock. Boil up, simmer gently for 10 minutes, and pour over the rabbit when it has cooked for 40 minutes. Add the parsley, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook slowly for 20 minutes longer, or until the rabbit is tender. Serve with the sauce poured over.

Time.—About 1 hour. Average Cost, 1s. 10d. to 2s. 2d. Sufficient for 4 persons. Seasonable from September to March.

Varieties of Rabbits.—Among the numerous varieties of rabbits, some are kept for their beauty, and are known as "fancy" rabbits. These are of foreign origin, and probably came originally from Persia, India and China. The most valued are the lop-eared and Angora; other kinds, as the Belgian hare-rabbit, the silver-grey, the Himalayan and the Dutch rabbit are kept for some qualities of form or for the excellence of their flesh. For the table the Belgian hare-rabbits are the best, for their size, weight and the rapidity with which they arrive at maturity. The common white, and yellow and white species have white and delicate flesh, and when cooked in a similar way to the turkey are said to rival it in flavour. Wild or semi-wild rabbits are distinguished as "warreners," who burrow underneath the earth, and live in communities; "parkers," whose favourite resort is the park or pleasure ground of an estate, where they usually breed in great numbers, and frequently drive away the hares; and the "hedgehog," of roaming habits.

1356.—RABBIT, BARBECUE OF. (Fr.Lapin Grillé.)

Ingredients.—1 very young rabbit, salad-oil or oiled butter, salt and pepper. For the sauce: 2 tablespoonfuls of good gravy, 1 tablespoonful of lemon-juice, 1 teaspoonful of French mustard. For the garnish: sliced lemon, fried parsley.

Method.—Cut off the head, let the rabbit lie in salt and water for 1 hour, and afterwards dry it thoroughly. Score the back and legs closely, season with salt and pepper, and coat liberally with salad-oil or oiled butter. Heat up the gravy and other ingredients. Let it remain for 1 hour, then again sprinkle the rabbit with salt and pepper, brush it over with oil or butter, and broil it over or in front of a clear fire. Turn frequently, and brush over with oil or butter whenever it appears in the least dry. Divide into neat joints, and dish up, pour over a little brown sauce, and garnish with sprigs of fried parsley and sliced lemon.

Time.—To broil, from 20 to 25 minutes. Average Cost, 1s. 6d. to 1s. 9d. Sufficient for 3 to 4 persons. Seasonable from September to March.

The Common or Wild Rabbit.—This well-known rodent belong to the same family (Leporidæ) as the hare, but is smaller in size, and its hind legs and ears are shorter. In the wild state the fur of the rabbit is a greyish-brown; the colour under domestication, however, changes frequently to black, white or other shades. The fur is used for many purposes, as the manufacture of hats, the imitation of more costly furs, etc. The rabbit is one of the most prolific of animals in Australia and New Zealand, where it was introduced from England, it has increased so rapidly as to become a serious pest. During the time of the Roman power under the Emperor Augustus the Balearic Islands were once infested by rabbits to such an extent that the inhabitants were obliged to beg the aid of a military force to exterminate the prolific rodents. Sandy tracts and the slopes of hills, in which it burrows, are the favourite resort of the rabbit. Martial, the Roman writer of epigrams, declared that it was from the rabbit, with its remarkable faculty for tunnelling in the earth, that man first learned the art of fortification, mining and covered roads. Large numbers of wild rabbits are kept in enclosures or "warrens" in favourable localities, and are killed to supply the markets, as well as for their fur and skin.