(Recipe #96, pages 98 – 99)
Before turning our attention to the various preparations of rabbit meat, some preliminary discussion will not be out of place.
The simplest way to kill a rabbit is to insert a sharp knife into the neck between the forelegs; this will reach the heart and kill the animal instantly. To keep the meat quite light, as is desirable for white meat dishes, and to enable it to keep longer, the rabbit should be bled. The blood should be caught in a dish containing vinegar and kept cool, so that it can be used for a brown ragout (jugged rabbit). After being killed, the rabbit must be skinned and dressed immediately.
To skin a rabbit, use scissors to make a finger-length incision in the belly, half way between the hind legs. The incision must reach almost to the middle of the belly. Then use your fingers to loosen the hide around the incision, pulling it toward the hind feet. At the hind feet, cut the hide free with a knife, leaving 4 inches at each foot. When the rear of the rabbit has been skinned in this way, turn the hide inside out and pull it vigorously toward the head. The entire hide is now free except for the ends of the front feet, where it is cut away with a knife. If the hide is hard to remove at any point, use the knife to help.
Gutting. Lay the rabbit on its back and slit the inner skin of its belly from the hind legs to the breast, keeping the knife blade upward. Be careful not to damage the viscera. Remove them and separate the gall bladder from the liver. Be very careful that no debris is left in the anus, which must be careful wiped with a cloth.
To disjoint the rabbit, if it is to be used in a ragout, proceed as follows: Cut the front feet away at the shoulder and the hind feet similarly. Divide each leg in half. Then cut the skin away from the belly on both sides and divide it half. Remove the head and divide it into two pieces and also the neck as far as the shoulders, also dividing it in two. Then remove the breast on both sides close to the saddle and cut it in half. Cut the torso into pieces about 1½ inches wide by holding a knife transversely and striking it with a mallet.
Translated by David Green.