Taste of the Caribbean: Offset Easter Sweets with Rabbit Run Down
It’s mean, I know. The Easter Bunny just got done spoiling us with colored eggs, toys, chocolates and candy, and I’m already calling for him to be cleaned, sliced, cooked and served. It may not be nice, but rabbit makes a pretty healthy meal, and after all those Easter sweets, he kinda’ owes us one, don’t you think?
In the Caribbean, rabbit is not as ubiquitous a menu item as pork, beef, chicken or even goat, but in certain communities it’s prized highly. One of those places is Dominica, where my new friend and Dominica-native, Evans Bruno from Virgin Islands Delite, says rabbit dishes go hand-in-hand with big celebrations.
When someone would come home from university, we would play dominoes and eat rabbit stew or rabbit soup. Growing up in Dominica, it was nothing to go out and catch a wild rabbit and cook it up.
Rabbit meat is so revered in Dominica that eight years ago the mountain village of Cochrane (elevation: 1,500 feet) started an annual Rabbit Festival.
The Cochrane Rabbit Festival celebrates Dominica’s cultural heritage with traditional island music and dance performances, arts & crafts exhibitions and more. There’s also fun games and a petting zoo for kids.
- 2 lb rabbit
- 1 pint coconut milk
- 4 tsp. Baking powder
- 1 tblsp salt
- 1 tblsp curry powder
- 1 shallot stalk, finely chopped
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 small hot pepper, crushed
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 6 dried pimento (allspice) berries
All that’s well and good, but this Festival is REALLY about rabbits, with the main attraction being the wide variety of local dishes on-hand to be sampled featuring the healthy meat of these cute and furry creatures. Baked, stewed, fried, jerked, curried or in a soup, just about every way you can prepare rabbit is available here.
The next Cochrane Rabbit Festival is coming up in two weeks (May 8), but if you can’t make it, you can still bring a taste of the event to your table with this recipe for Dominica Rabbit Run Down, borrowed from Caribbean Recipes.
Cut the rabbit into serving portions. Bring the coconut milk to boil and add the rabbit, salt and curry powder. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for one hour, or until tender. Add all other flavoring ingredients five minutes before removing from the heat. Serves about six.