El conejo is integral to Spanish cuisine, particularly in the countryside where hunting traditions remain strong. Summer is rabbit hunting season and some of the compunction one may feel about eating our fluffy, floppy-eared friends is mitigated by the knowledge that they cause havoc in fields and vineyards. Reproducing with well-known enthusiasm, these conejos overrun woodlands and farms, damaging trees, helping themselves to Mr McGreggor’s vegetables, and foraging on the lesser known Mrs. Ribera del Duero’s vine shoots. So there you have it; my grand ethical argument in favor of rabbit consumption.
The culture of rabbit hunting is evident in many of the names given to traditional rabbit dishes in Spain: arroz a la cazadora (hunter’s rice with rabbit), liebre a la cazadora (hunter’s stew with hare), conejo a la brasa (grilled rabbit), and paella to name a few. The meat of good wild rabbits is suffused with the flavors of thyme and other herbs on which these animals feed. And while the farmed rabbits available in the US lack the same aromatic qualities, you can concoct a similar taste by cooking them with generous handfuls of herbs.
Since many of our favorite Spanish recipes call for rabbit, we are delighted to finally have this delectable meat for sale at The Spanish Table. Sourced from Nicky Farms in Oregon, the rabbit is farm raised on a diet of mixed grains supplemented with alfalfa producing unsurpassed flavor. All Nicky’s rabbits are guaranteed antibiotic and hormone free. Sold whole, frozen.