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OK, I know saying such & such a type of meat tastes like chicken is a total stereotype, but bear with me.

I am not a frequent eater of rabbit but I'd say have it 1-2 times a year, so I feel like I have a rough idea of the taste and appearance. All the rabbit I've ever eaten prior to last night I would describe as dark in appearance, somewhat tough, and slightly gamy.

Last night I went to supper at one of my favorite restaurants and ordered a dish that was "Rabbit five ways." The dish consisted of a total of a half rabbit done in the following ways: leg confit, saddle done sous vide porchetta style, cabbage rolls stuffed with rabbit, a liver mousse, and head cheese. The cabbage rolls and head cheese contained meat I would say was very rabbit like: dark, a little gamy, and a bit tough.

Now, I know that there's the (IMO, philosophical) opinion that all rabbit meat is white meat due to its leanness. However, the leg confit and sous vide saddle were unusual to me in that they looked, smelled, and tasted like chicken. To be clear, I mean the meat was very white, like almost the color of a sheet of paper, like a chicken breast on the whiter end of the spectrum would be. And, as I mentioned, it also tasted a surprising amount like chicken.

Anyway, I guess I'm wondering is this restaurant trying to pass off poultry as rabbit? That seems unlikely since it's a mid-sized, non-chain, mid-high end place with a good reputation. The small monetary savings don't seem worth the risk that a restaurant reviewer spots what you're up to and trashes you in a review.

However, if it really was rabbit, then I'm curious under what conditions rabbit would come out being indistinguishable from chicken? Are certain breeds and/or cuts more like white poultry meat? Or is it some combination of cut and cooking method that would give this result?

Thanks.

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It wouldn't be the first time that a high-end restaurant has passed off more expensive ingredients as cheaper ingredients, but it's pretty unlikely. What is the most probable reason is that you had farmed rabbit as opposed to wild rabbits, which have very different flavors and textures due to diet and lifestyle.

Wild rabbits eat lots of grass and flowers which give their meat that gaminess, and they get lots of exercise running around so their texture is tougher and color darker. Farmed rabbits are given a mostly grain diet which is bland and makes the meat bland, and don't get much exercise so they are more tender.

  • Battery and grain feed duck is also bland sameness as same chicken and rabbit – TFD Sep 25 '15 at 12:17
  • Very true @TFD, I tend to buy free range so it tastes like something. – GdD Sep 25 '15 at 13:22

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