Run on Rabbit; Despised Wartime Dish Back in Favour after TV Chefs Tickle Scots' Tastebuds

Daily Mail (London), October 28, 2006 | Go to article overview

Run on Rabbit; Despised Wartime Dish Back in Favour after TV Chefs Tickle Scots' Tastebuds


Byline: ROD MILLS

IT was once a staple of the Scots diet and a wartime delicacy when provisions were scarce.

But over the years rabbit stew slipped off menus as tastes changed and a wider range of foods made their way into kitchen cupboards.

Now it is back in favour, with butchers reporting unprecedented sales after TV chefs promoted rabbit's low-fat meat and organic credentials.

Experts say these factors have made it popular with those seeking a healthier diet free of steroids or additives.

Rabbit has long been a popular dish across Europe and is now farmed in France and Italy for top restaurants and discerning shoppers.

The subtle-tasting and versatile dish is cheap but it became stigmatised as the poor man's meat during the austere war years and it later vanished from menus as households became more affluent.

But today, after celebrity chefs began using the much maligned ingredient, it has begun appearing in restaurants everywhere.

Mark Smith, proprietor of George Bower Butchers in Edinburgh's Stockbridge, now sells 50 whole rabbits a week and says demand is growing.

He added: 'People are trying it after seeing recipes on TV or ordering it in restaurants - often customers who ate it as youngsters had forgotten how good it tasted.'

Mr Smith grew up catching rabbits and has always enjoyed dishes such as pot-roasted rabbit, roast saddle of rabbit and even paella, which usually calls for chicken instead of rabbit.

His shop is supplied by pest control workers who trap rabbits humanely on farms and golf courses in the Borders.

Mr Smith, 35, has supplied French and German customers living in Edinburgh for years, but says Scots are warming to rabbit, which cost [pounds sterling]2-3 each. …

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