Charlotte-based food blogger Heidi Billotto has launched a series of blog posts about the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. Her first blog explores local proteins available at the market. These include pork, beef, lamb, rabbit and goat. “The set up (at the farmers market for meat products) is most often an array of large coolers,” Billotto said. “Not nearly as eye catching or as sexy as tables of colorful seasonal produce which will start to arrive in the coming months, so you need to remember it is what’s inside the cooler that counts.”
You can find fresh, local meat products at all four farmers markets run by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and many other farmers markets across the state. Most meat products at the market are sold frozen and vacuum-sealed.
One local protein that is sold at the farmers market that is not as mainstream as beef or pork is rabbit. “You may substitute rabbit in just about any recipe you have for chicken,” Billotto said. Her blog focuses on three farms that sell local rabbit at the Charlotte Regional Market – Clearview Farms in Lincolnton, All Natural Farms in Rutherfordton and Peaceful Valley Farms in Sparta. Read more about these farmers and find more recipes at https://heidibillottofood.com. Thanks Heidi for helping us promote Got to Be NC meat products and produce!
Heidi Billotto’s Rabbit in Cream Sauce with Carrots and Mushrooms
- 1 pasture-raised local rabbit, cut into quarters or pieces
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 tablespoons butter or olive oil (or local bacon fat, rendered beef suet or pork lard)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup local or organic milk
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
- salt and pepper
- Drippings from chicken or rabbit and bone broth
Place the quartered or cut up rabbit into a large soup pot or Dutch oven and add chopped carrots, quartered onion, the stalks of chopped celery and the bay leaves with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for about an hour and a half. When the rabbit is cool enough to take out of the pan, debone and dice meat (can be done ahead of time). Reduce broth by one half and season to taste with salt and pepper. Melt your fat of choice in sauce pan, stir in flour and add milk using wire whisk, add chicken or rabbit stock and stir to make creamy sauce. Add seasonings to taste then add diced rabbit meat.
Great served over your favorite rice, cauliflower rice or pasta. The creamed rabbit shown here is served over Geechie Boy blue grits available at All Natural Farms farm store in Building B at the Charlotte Regional Farmers’ Market and topped with microgreens from Tega Hills Farm, available Saturday mornings in Building C.