Hefe Braised Rabbit Carnitas
A recipe by Harvesting Nature contributor Chef Ara Zada
From Chef Ara Zada: Archery hunting can be tough and it’s important to constantly practice. I find that no matter how much you shoot targets you never get the same pressure as when you’re locked into an animal. You get one shot and you better make it a good one. For me the best way to keep up my skills for big game is going after small game. You also have to be much more accurate when doing this if you don’t want to ruin all the meat. I always get funny faces from people when I tell them I hunt rabbits and squirrels because they taste awesome. Most people think they eat trash and must taste like trash. On the contrary, they eat mostly nuts and seeds, which make for a rich and delicious meal. Try out this super-easy recipe. If you don’t have rabbit you can sub it out for squirrel or any other small game.
2 onions sliced
7 garlic cloves, smashed
4 bay leaves
2 cans Hefeweizen (24 oz.) or your favorite beer
1 tsp. coriander
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. annatto powder (This is also known as achiote powder. You can substitute this ingredient with paprika.)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tomatoes, Diced
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
Using a cleaver or sharp knife, cut your rabbits into thirds so you have front legs, mid section and back legs. Season your rabbit sections liberally all over with salt and pepper.
Place rabbit, onions, garlic, Hefewizen, coriander, cumin, chili powder and Annatto powder into a *4qt Dutch oven or a heavy-bottom pot and stir. Bring the pot to a boil, stir once, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until meat is easily pulling off the bones.
Remove the rabbit from the pot and pull all the meat off the bones. Discard the bones, but reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat and add a little oil to the pan. Place the shredded rabbit into the pan and sear to get some crispy ends. Drizzle some of the reserved cooking liquid onto the shredded rabbit after it is seared to keep it nice and moist. Serve on a warm tortilla topped with tomatoes, cheddar, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!
**Alternatively: you can place all the ingredients into a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours. Then follow the same steps to shred, sear and serve.
About the chef: Chef Ara has always had a need to be outdoors. He attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu and built a career as a professional Chef specializing in recipe development and food styling. He paired his love for cooking with the great outdoors and found a passion in harvesting his own meat. He is an avid archery hunter and spends most of his spare time honing in his archery skill and planning his next hunt. He is also a field staff writer for Harvestingnature.com