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How to Break Down and Cook Whole Rabbits with James Beard Award-Winning Chef Nina Compton—Prime Time

February 23, 2020

– Ben, why don’t people eat more rabbit? – I don’t know. – Was it Bugs Bunny? – He was a bit of a jerk actually. – Are they intimidated to cook it? – I am. – Is it because people have them as pets? – They really shouldn’t, they’re actually pretty mean as pets. – So we’re here at
Bywater American Bistro. We’re gonna go see our
good friend, Nina Compton. She’s gonna teach us how to cook a whole
rabbit and make a curry. – Welcome to New Orleans! – Cheers Ben. – Where did you get that glass of wine? – I’m in New Orleans. – I don’t have one, thanks a lot. (upbeat music) Welcome! We are in New Orleans and when you are in New Orleans, one of the very first
things you have to do is visit Nina Compton. Nina, thank you so much
for having us today. – My pleasure, my pleasure. Welcome. – [Ben] Thank you. – We are absolutely so excited, and today we’re gonna talk about rabbit, which is not something that we have a lot of experience
with at the butcher shop. A lot of restaurants in New
York don’t serve rabbit. You do. So I think that touches
on like one of the first barriers to entry with rabbit is that people are like, “Oh it’s
cute, I can’t eat it”. But, it’s actually like,
a sustainable food, and they’re actually really easy to cook. – Yes. – Why do you think people
don’t eat more rabbit? – It’s very lean as well, so
there isn’t a lot of meat, so it is tedious, but I
think it’s really worth it. – You’re gonna use the whole animal, you gotta get all that meat off of it. – Yeah, it’s a lot. I had a friend that Frenched the ribs, I’m like how did you do that? They’re so tiny. – [Ben] We’re doing a
curry today, correct? – Yes. So let’s start. – Yeah, let’s do it. Excited to talk about them because whole rabbit, kinda like a whole chicken, you really should buy the whole thing. – We get the rabbits from
Sweet Caroline in Mississippi. I’m just gonna open it up, so
you see here it’s pretty lean. And I think people can do at home. So you treat it almost like a chicken where you cut the quarters off. – [Ben] Just like right under the breast. – Right under yes. – Oh that’s gorgeous. You can tell how fresh these rabbits are just looking at them. – Yes. – There is such thing as a rabbit loin, it’s ridiculously small and adorable. Is that something that
you can actually serve? – You can, so it’s right here. So it looks like almost
like a little tenderloin. – Looks exactly like a tenderloin. – And that is so tiny
by the time you cook it, it’s smaller than my pinky, so we just keep it on. – This is great because even
when we break these down in the shop, the very few
times we ever have them, it’s very much kind of like a traditional way that
you would imagine like a butcher in a movie chopping it up, it’s just like whack, whack, you just like, the two
shoulders are separated, the two loins are separated. (upbeat music) Can I do a couple? – [Nina] Yes. I have close to zero
experience with rabbit. In New York you just
don’t see rabbit on menus, it just isn’t there. We’ve been in New Orleans 20 hours and we’ve seen it on several menus. It’s really exciting but like, I know it’s a blind spot in my own butchering and restaurant experience, I haven’t eaten it, I haven’t
cooked it at all at home, literally ever. – Treat it like a chicken. (upbeat music) – So when we first opened the shop, we wanted to carry different things so we did get fresh rabbits but we could only by them buy the case, so it was 12 rabbits, we were a new business, I mean– – It’s a hard sell sometimes. – A small business so we’d
maybe sell two a week. I personally love them, I just don’t wanna
de-bone them every week. – It’s a lot of work because, like I said there isn’t a lot of meat and the bones are so tiny, so it is quite tedious when people say I’m gonna de-bone a whole rabbit. You do the whole thing like this, the yield is so low. But it is pretty delicious. So we’re gonna cure these in equal parts salt and sugar for four hours. And then we’re gonna confit them. We roast the torso and then we add brown chicken stock. It is worth that time curing it I think it’s just like brining anything else. It’s just adding that salt all the way through the muscular tissue. – Yeah, so you’re really
building several layers of rabbit flavor into this one dish. – Yes. – Wow, so four hours, binge watch your show that you wanna watch and then come back and cook for
hour, hour and a half. – That’s how we do it. (laughing) So we’re gonna cure these, if you wanna grab the salt and sugar. – Yes ma’am. So it’s not, it doesn’t
need to be measured out, it’s just cover the surfaces– – Yeah so you wanna do
like just a light cure. I think a lot of people tend to put too much salt sometimes and that really cooks
the outside of the rabbit and you don’t want that. Just be generous, treat it with respect and that really helps for the
end product of what you get. – [Ben] Yeah. The legs are gonna be
the majority of our meat. – Yes. We do one leg per order and then part of the curry built into the sauce is gonna be some of this meat. (upbeat music) So we’re gonna put these away and then we’re gonna roast these and then we’re gonna
start building the curry. – [Ben] I wish I was more adept at using this amount of spices. This is like a neverending math equation. – It’s a lot, but it’s like, it’s a skill I wish I had. – What I the inspiration
behind this rabbit dish? – So yeah it’s curry, I’m from Saint Lucia and
curry’s a big thing for us, that’s my comfort food, like on a rainy day I
want a big bowl of curry and some rice. We have a lot of open-air markets, and you go down to the market at 5 a.m., it’s full of produce and fish and beef and everybody’s just like gathering, and you can smell the fresh thyme, you can
smell the fresh curry leaves, you have cinnamon. Smelling those aromas, I’m like this just makes sense to just put this with fish or put
this with rabbit or chicken, it’s just something that just
came second nature to me. With all these spices, it’s really a pain to pick the spices out, so we just tie it up in a sachet. So here we have star anise, and then clove, coriander, and then a lot of cardamom. To build any curry I
think the biggest spice that is really the most fragrant is the green cardamom. – I know curries are kind of can be even family-specific,
not just region-specific, so is this is this your family or
is this your specific way that you’ve developed. – This is my way that I like to do curry. I think a lot of people don’t use fresh curry leaves enough, I don’t see them very often. It just sets that curry apart I think. Okay so then I’m gonna have you tie up one of the torsos. – [Ben] So far what we’ve
built is for the broth? – [Nina] Yes. (upbeat music) – [Ben] And now we’re gonna build a curry? – Now we’re gonna build a curry. Nice hot pan, olive oil, onions. – This is great, I’ve never made it with
someone who’s like, “No, I actually know what I’m doing.” (laughing) – I think for the home cook, I think it’s really not going too extreme with some spices, I think a lot of people go
too forward on some spices and it kind of kills everything, you have to find that happy balance of what you really wanna shine. Do you want it to be the cardamom? Do you want it to be the cinnamon? (upbeat music) And then we’re gonna add our sachet. Just tuck it in there. And then we’re gonna add the torso back into there. And then we’re gonna let this simmer just until all the meat comes off and it’s nice and tender. – I mean for the amount of flavor that’s going into this, this is actually like, once it’s prepared, once you have everything together, fairly simple. It’s not too much, like I was having an anxiety attack with everything on the table, now it’s like, oh, all these things together, wrap them up, put them here, and then– – And it’s not that hard because I think this is something that somebody
can do at home and just set it and forget it. It’s very, very simple. This is restaurant-style
but you could do it without braising the torso, you could buy the legs and confit them and make
the curry jus separately and then just finish it. – It’s an approachable project. You know you’re gonna get
the meat from the legs, you’re building a spice kit, and then this is, this already looks like it’s
gonna feed us for a couple days and we’re using the whole rabbit. You bought the whole thing, you’re gonna use the whole thing, plenty of meat but also
just a ton of flavor, I can only imagine this
left over day three is like even better. – Because the flavors
like really marinate. (upbeat music) So now the curry is done so we’re gonna pull the rabbit out and I’m gonna keep the sachet in here. So then I add the coconut milk once the braise is done. Let that come together. So we plate our jasmine rice. And I’m a big textural person so we top it with toasted you say pecans or pecans? – I say pecans. – I say pecans. – You say pecans. I kinda go back and forth, I flip flop sometimes, I don’t even know what I say. – [Ben] Yeah, I had to
think about it for a second, I was like, I can’t remember. – Put the curry on top. There’s the leg. – [Ben] Oh that is beautiful. – You really wanna put a
nice amount of the curry. Because that rice really
soaks everything up. – Also just the way that curry smells, I want a lot of it. – Three days. I’ll give you some to go, you’ll have it in three days. – [Ben] That is gorgeous. – [Nina] And that is for you guys to eat. – Wow. – This is so exciting. – You have actually managed
to take the intimidation not just out of curry but like out of cooking a rabbit. I actually feel pretty
confident about this now. – Good. Well cheers. – Cheers. – Welcome to New Orleans and rabbit and curry. Cheers. – [Brent] Thank you so much. (upbeat music) – This is so fantastic but also so New Orleans specific. Fantastic dish, thank you so much. – The texture’s phenomenal. I thought it would just be like braised into just kinda being like mush, but it’s, it really has
still that body to it. I just realized I’ve been
cooking rabbit wrong. – I mean that also
makes it so approachable that like you’re gonna buy the whole thing and you can actually do this in an hour and a half. Like that’s an, actually achievable weeknight meal. – It also makes sense
you would use the thigh because I mean even looking at the animal, the thigh is by far the biggest part, it’s the meatiest part, everything else has a lot
of smaller bones to it and you’re gonna have to braise it or have an intern like just
pick all that meat off. – I know. – It presents totally approachable like a chicken leg does, but you kinda know, oh
there’s just two bones, you don’t have a ton of tiny bones. Yeah. – Yeah. Wow. – If you like chicken, you’ll like rabbit. It’s like even lighter than chicken and everyone in the world likes chicken, and so go buy a damn rabbit. (upbeat music)

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  • Reply Gino Ibarra February 20, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Is no one gonna address how expensive it is to eat rabbit? Not everyone's can hunt these where they live in the US

  • Reply Rhabdo B February 20, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    White Tshirt guy. I’m going to tell you what my wife told me. You’re not a medium anymore.

  • Reply Twix Licks February 20, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Thats such a waste of spices. didn't even roast em to get all flavours.

  • Reply brakjart February 20, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    Here in the Canary Islands (Spain) rabbit is pretty common. There's a dish called "conejo al salmorejo" which is kind of translated to "salmorejo rabbit", which is pieces of rabbit stewed with wine, broth, vegetables and has a very intense flavor. You should look it up and make a video about it 🙂

  • Reply Giuseppe Pipia February 20, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    It is even better than the chicken! Italy has a lot of recipes as well for rabbit!

  • Reply onlychildknow February 20, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    You people eat rabbits now? Disgusting

  • Reply Misha Budilov February 20, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I would eat bugs bunny

  • Reply Amir S February 20, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Btw fck u if u eat rabbits

  • Reply killerbiene243 February 20, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    could you do copyu???

  • Reply How do you do it? February 20, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    That's not curry

  • Reply Rochelle Jean-Charles February 20, 2020 at 7:20 pm


  • Reply Bear Chef February 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    I love rabbit! Rabbit bacon egg rolls are awesome

  • Reply Lord Kiltridge February 20, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    I have never had rabbit but I have already figured out how I'm going to raise them during an economic collapse.

  • Reply MIDAS February 20, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    I can't get enough of prime time.

  • Reply John Samuels February 20, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the video. I will make it this weekend.

  • Reply Gabriel Martins February 20, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    With that amount of cardamom, you won’t taste anything else.

  • Reply Roman DeWys February 20, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Where the hell do you even buy rabbit

  • Reply Matt Maxey February 20, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    My favorite way to make them is leave them whole stuff the cavity with a good pork sausage then wrap in bacon then bbq them for like 1.5 hours at like 350 best rabbit I've ever eaten

  • Reply Alan Sticka February 20, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    This is my favorite vegan food channel/show

  • Reply Tom The Plummer February 20, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    Shh. Be vewy vewy quit, I’m hunting wabbbit.

  • Reply eric24567 February 20, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    off topic, but curry is one of those dishes that can be made by an 8 year old or a Michelin star chef. and the one made by an 8 year old probably will still be delicious

  • Reply ERIKA DOWDY February 20, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    But interesting

  • Reply detachd February 20, 2020 at 10:21 pm


  • Reply Larry Copenhaver February 20, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    love rabbit, fried, with gravy

  • Reply Boulder Rock February 20, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    I love Prime Time but idk this episode seemed kinda rushed. With that I still loved it

  • Reply alamin pervez February 20, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Too much cardamom…

  • Reply Camden Coble February 20, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    please make a series out of making interesting sausage flavors as a challenge against eachother, like the egg sandwich one!

  • Reply Trevor Phillips February 20, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    These 2 guys are so annoying.

  • Reply skylinedrevn February 21, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Is there anyway to see where yall are while in New Orleans? Any meet and greets?

  • Reply fordhouse8b February 21, 2020 at 12:31 am

    I know why I don’t eat more rabbit. I have never seen rabbit in any of my local supermarkets. If I ever see it, I would buy it in second.

  • Reply batchagaloopyTV February 21, 2020 at 12:35 am

    my pops always brings up his grandmother making rabbit caciatore (hunters style iirc)says how delicous it was and he never sees it anywhere

  • Reply Sydney Patrick Marsh February 21, 2020 at 12:52 am

    It's not fresh meat is usually hung for a few weeks so it's not fresh…

  • Reply M M February 21, 2020 at 1:16 am


  • Reply Shanna Bananas February 21, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Thumper 😭😭😭

  • Reply michelhv February 21, 2020 at 1:20 am

    Although the meat is like a chicken, the anatomy of a rabbit is that of a quadruped like any lamb pork or beef. At my shop we used to debone them whole so no cutting into quarters, and then we stuffed them and rolled them in caul before tying them up.

  • Reply John Natividad February 21, 2020 at 1:29 am

    I missed you guys, welcome back!!! ✨🎉

  • Reply Kevin C February 21, 2020 at 1:34 am

    They don't like it. I can see it in their gestures.

  • Reply Andre Liufau February 21, 2020 at 1:37 am

    Love rabbit but sucks they don’t serve it in LA or maybe they do

  • Reply OptimusRenick February 21, 2020 at 2:08 am

    He looks so short

  • Reply georgia bowhunter February 21, 2020 at 2:36 am

    I love rabbit.

  • Reply thatguy088 February 21, 2020 at 2:38 am

    we dont eat much rabbit because of expensive it is, a 3lb rabbit might run you $30-$35

  • Reply Righteous1 February 21, 2020 at 2:45 am

    Yum rabbit. I've never eaten it but I want some.

  • Reply Bembeng Suhardono February 21, 2020 at 3:13 am

    Oh noooooooo…. they're eating bugs bunny… 😭😭😭😭😭😭

  • Reply truebluekit February 21, 2020 at 3:35 am

    I know I'm being a nerd, but I'm so thrilled at seeing that Alto-Shaam in the back.

  • Reply night cill February 21, 2020 at 3:53 am

    Yuck. How is this any different from eating dogs. Westerners are hypocrites. HAHAHAHA

  • Reply Adolpho De La Cerda February 21, 2020 at 3:54 am

    She is very cute. You need more woman on you show, especially pretty ones. All woman are beautiful… good job gents. Thank you

  • Reply Paul Carey February 21, 2020 at 4:13 am

    All we used was salt pepper flour and hot grease. Half the fun was hunt rabbit with my dad

  • Reply pf011 February 21, 2020 at 4:34 am

    I've loved Nina Compton since Top Chef! Love this collab!

  • Reply loc Nguyen February 21, 2020 at 5:04 am

    rabbit is too lean ..

  • Reply Benji Berigan February 21, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Yeah, this is the kinda episode that gets me ROCk HARd

  • Reply Uriel Martinez February 21, 2020 at 6:11 am

    I love bugs bunny

  • Reply Cozy Dodo Dodo February 21, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Rabbits are used in Virology experiments and they fart out coronaviruses and infect the Chinese and everyone else.

  • Reply Ziming Guo February 21, 2020 at 7:12 am

    There are two major drawbacks with rabbit as mentioned in the video, meat is lean and not much meat in a whole rabbit. But everything else about it is really good.

  • Reply darthrex354 February 21, 2020 at 7:30 am

    I've always been uncomfortable with how similar a rabbit carcass looks to a cat . Lest anybody worry how I know what a skinned cat looks like, there was a muscle diagram in my biology textbook.

  • Reply Januzai Ramli February 21, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Rabbits aren't that mean

  • Reply Eduardo Hernandez February 21, 2020 at 11:05 am

    People don't eat rabbit because it's expensive, not readily available, it's too lean and gamey.

    You're better off selling iguanas.

  • Reply immorton joe February 21, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Don't use curry leaves 😂😂😂😂, go to india, ur st Lucia curry is garbage, ur scahet 😂😂😂😂

  • Reply immorton joe February 21, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Pecan nuts with curry 😂😂😂😂

  • Reply Binson Lazano February 21, 2020 at 11:13 am

    How bout grilled dog

  • Reply MKB2305 February 21, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Serious question: why the torso is wrapped? I can understand the spices, but the torso..?

  • Reply FuckYouWhosNext February 21, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    even though rabbit isnt exactly an exotic meat it sure isnt common to find in the kitchen. Odd, and funny cause rabbits are quite common in farms and rural areas. probably doesnt taste half bad as lean as they are!

  • Reply Mr. X February 21, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Er, Animal meat sickos! 😷

  • Reply George Malim February 21, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    What were the rabbit legs confited in ?

  • Reply nugroho jati February 21, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    I love rabbit.. rabbit skewer, that's one of fav local dishes in my city..

  • Reply 로즈박Rose Park February 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    (ˆิ👄ˆิ👌)delicious ~♡
    #로즈박🇰🇷 ~♡#Ram-don

  • Reply Paul de Bellefroid February 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Friends not food

  • Reply tokas 1992 February 21, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Stop eating meat

  • Reply tokas 1992 February 21, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    This is awful… you guys are disgusting

  • Reply Berfunkle February 21, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    This is why I don't feel guilty about eating rabbit. I must be part weasel.

  • Reply Vamsi Kiran Yadala February 21, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    if u powder those spices, its adds depth and flavour

  • Reply Gino Gauci February 21, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    We eat tons of it here in malta it's one of our national dishes

  • Reply Capt prime February 21, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Because people are woosies

  • Reply Lawrence Ramos February 21, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    I'm not sure why anyone was thumbs down this episode.

  • Reply Jan Bovenberg February 21, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Please inform yourself to buy organic rabbit. They are mostly kept in small cages with no floor just wire

  • Reply NuzzyD February 21, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Oh yeah! NOLA!

  • Reply Turbo Fish February 21, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    They’re great pets btw

  • Reply I Am you. February 21, 2020 at 10:43 pm


  • Reply José Nicanor Liberos Mascarell February 22, 2020 at 12:52 am

    So you are telling me that I have not eaten proper paella since I came to Memphis and there's somebody selling rabbit in Mississippi? DANG IT!!!

  • Reply 30minforasn February 22, 2020 at 1:19 am

    That smedium white T. 👌

  • Reply Kiran P February 22, 2020 at 1:47 am

    I can dish out desserts for a month with that Cardamom

  • Reply Gary V February 22, 2020 at 2:54 am

    Do horse next

  • Reply JC Forever February 22, 2020 at 3:35 am

    Ewwwwwwwwwww Raaaaaaaaaaaabit 😱🤢🤢🤮

  • Reply Captain Nemo February 22, 2020 at 4:57 am

    Kill it by holding them upside down from there feet and just give them a karate shop to the back of the skullcap.

  • Reply The Outdoorsman February 22, 2020 at 6:11 am

    Love seeing rabbit in the spotlight. Great meat, easy to raise, and very prolific

  • Reply Hentai Samurai February 22, 2020 at 7:31 am

    I read this as Nino compton and thought that nino became a chef!

  • Reply reddo84 February 22, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Very nice!
    Thank you Chef Nina

  • Reply sly fox February 22, 2020 at 9:01 am

    My pet bunny is pretty sweet sooooo

  • Reply Tatang Sutha February 22, 2020 at 9:37 am

    I tasted rabbit several times. Delicious and less fat.

  • Reply Aaron Z. February 22, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Rabbit curry sounds amazing.

  • Reply Stoney February 22, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Thought u can only eat rabbit during the winter?

  • Reply valentin65 February 22, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Some might think this woman is tough – butchering rabbits without shedding a teardrop. But that's how women are: Tough as nails. The only focus they have is raising babies. Even husbands are dispensable.

  • Reply bob February 22, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    I'm in NY and I have a lot of rabbit in restaurants. It's not as uncommon as one might think. I also pull loins of the rabbit. If you cut next to the back bone from the top they roll of the ribs. Not a lot of work and I think its worth it.

  • Reply Rad Onas February 22, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    My rabbit is not a mean pet u_u

  • Reply Daniel February 23, 2020 at 12:18 am

    I think I should become a vegetarian… I just saw this woman open the rabbit and I imagined that poor rabbit removed from a field just to be put on a dish and the idea disgusted me. We can't continue with this lie… they are sentient beings 🙁

  • Reply Sara Williams February 23, 2020 at 12:55 am

    The fear of Tularemia is actually the main thing that scares people away from eating rabbit. However most people don't really remember Tularemia so rabbit has gotten relagated to a "well we don't really remember why we don't eat it".

  • Reply Crisi Bella February 23, 2020 at 1:07 am


  • Reply SuWoopSparrow February 23, 2020 at 1:20 am

    Why don't we eat more rabbits? Probably because this is America and in America you have adults who legitimately think that no meat exists other than beef, pork, and chicken.

  • Reply Stephen Codekas February 23, 2020 at 5:02 am


  • Reply Michael G February 23, 2020 at 6:14 am

    You know rings when you handle meat can give a terrible food poisoning so please remember them to take them off. I have now said this 3 times and this is the first time you take plastic gloves on Fantastic. Over how many months I have said this 3 times in every month and I have told you this in 1 whole year now…

  • Reply DJ DUBS February 23, 2020 at 9:57 am

    What spices did she put in when she was sweating down the onions

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