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I want to make, "A brace of coneys" stew. It needs to sort of feel like rabbit is in there, but don't have any rabbit. What would be an easy to find, suitable substitute?

I've never even had rabbit so I am really clueless here. Can I add certain spices to beef? chicken? What would you suggest?

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A friend once went to great lengths to obtain rabbit for a medieval recipe, but she could have saved a lot of time and a whole lot of money: the result was completely indistinguishable from chicken thigh meat. –  Marti Dec 5 '12 at 20:08
    
Well good to know! I'm sure Gandolf, Samwise, Frodo, Galadriel and Legolas and Gimli will love it then :-) We're all setting out for a journey through a risk board game tonight. –  balanced mama Dec 5 '12 at 20:26
    
Have you checked your back yard? I hear they stock different things in different regions, but around here just about every one has rabbits available on a regular basis. –  Theodore Murdock Dec 5 '12 at 20:26
    
WoW! nope. not here. I could probably easily rustle up some rattlesnake that way though. –  balanced mama Dec 5 '12 at 20:28
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@TheodoreMurdock I wouldn't try the backyard rabbits, Tularemia is an ugly disease widespread in wild rabbit populations. –  rumtscho Dec 5 '12 at 23:40
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You could try something like chicken thighs. Rabbit is very mild in flavor but the texture is similar to thigh meat on a chicken or duck. You could try doing it with a young chicken (i.e. cornish hen, poussin) but I would take the skin off of whatever you decide to use.

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In Spanish there is a saying: dar gato por liebre.

It literally means to give a cat as a hare, as supposelly they have the same size and similar shape, and would be indistinguishable when cooked.

Albeit you probably should get some pieces to a veterinary in order to check the cat had no diseases (as supposely a rabbit in a butcher would have been tested for), and have guts to eat a pet.

A note on the saying

(Please, feel free to edit this answer and delete this note if you think it's off topic: this is an open collaborative site)

The saying means to trick someone, to deceive: it doesn't have a literal meaning. Culturally, in Spanish speaking countries eating a pet is disgusting. But the saying gives us (Spanish speakers) the idea that both meats would be indistinguishable and, so, be a propper introduction for the answer.

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@SAJ14SAJ 1) even in cultures where cats are mainly a pet, eating them is not taboo, just highly unusual. 2) The site does not target Western cultures only, and while the language is certainly a barrier which means that most of our visitors are indeed English speaking, we are not giving the taboos of one culture preference over others just because we have a majority of this culture around here. 3) We have had this discussion on meta, eating meat from animals commonly kept as pets is on-topic, see meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/31/… –  rumtscho Dec 5 '12 at 23:48
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@SAJ14SAJ Conclusion: you (and anybody else) is free to downvote the answer as an expression of your personal opinion, but it is not considered off-topic or unwanted content. –  rumtscho Dec 5 '12 at 23:50
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The OP's profile says she's in the US - so it's pretty unlikely that she wants to eat cat, and it'd be even harder to find than rabbit even if she did. Further, it sounds like that saying is about deception - passing off something bad as something good. For example, one reply says "This is a common phrase of my Mother's (she's Argentine) ... Hare is a common delicacy in Argentina, especially in the south. After butchering, a hare and a cat look very similar - but you wouldn't want to eat a cat..." –  Jefromi Dec 6 '12 at 5:14
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@Marti I think what gives meat it's consistency/taste is not the diet of the animal. Porks and poultry eat similar things, but have completelly different meats. I haven't tried crocodile/alligator (carnivores) but after googling found many people saying it tastes like chicken. It fits the theory given in this answer. –  J.A.I.L. Dec 7 '12 at 8:30
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@jefromi- Cats are way easier to find than rabbits! Or do you mean pre-butchered? –  Sobachatina Dec 11 '12 at 17:48
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I would agree with the first answer, chicken thighs would probably be the easiest closest match you'd find for rabbit. However, rabbit has a stronger more gamey flavour than chicken so you might want to consider ways of adding that gamey flavour back into the dish.

I'd think about what gamey flavours you could add, perhaps small chunks of venison or even possibly one of the game birds, pheasant, partridge, grouse etc would give you that gamey flavour.

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Adding a bit of the (chicken's) liver might make it a bit more game-like. –  Erik P. Dec 7 '12 at 17:57
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