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Cooking the Easter Bunny

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If your kids haven't already figured out that there's no Easter Bunny, here's an easy way to teach them a valuable lesson while also scarring them for life: Cook and serve rabbit this year for Easter. Decorate with Easter eggs for effect.

This is absolutely the kind of thing my own parents would have done to me as a child. I honestly can't believe my mother didn't, really; she gets a lot of credit for crafting beautiful Easter baskets instead each year. There was the time, on the other hand, that she baked rice into a meatloaf and convinced me that there had been worms in the meat.

It was years before I could eat meatloaf again.

So what I'm saying here is that while cooking a rabbit for Easter might scar your children, it will also give them a great story to tell some day.

Besides, Easter bunnies are creepy. And braised rabbit is delicious. So here's how to do it.

The simplest (and, in my opinion, best) way to enjoy rabbit is by braising it. I love this recipe from The Hungry Frenchman and its straightforward, rustic results. You'll want to make sure to ask your butcher to cut the rabbit into at least six pieces for this recipe, which is easily accomplished.

Alternately, for something with a brighter flavor and more of a spring-time feel to it (despite the presence of cool weather ingredients like oranges and fennel), try this recipe for honey-roasted rabbit from The Food Network. This recipe certainly takes longer, but is more presentable for guests if you're having a big Easter dinner.

What I don't recommend for Easter is killing your own rabbit out in the wild and eating it. Texas rabbits are cute and all, but most wild rabbits also carry a lot of worms. And, like the meatloaf, there's no getting the worms out -- even with cooking.

Instead, head down to your local butcher. Central Market has a limited supply of rabbit in right now (what, it's not popular around Easter time?) for $10.99 a pound. But my old favorite B&W Meat Market has rabbit in right now for only $4.99 a pound, and there's plenty to go around.

Happy Easter.

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