Even if you’ve never considered cooking rabbit, this recipe is a gentle, non-intimidating way to try it (although it is, indeed, a bit pricey). The “Spiced Rabbit Tagine with Peas and Carrots,” from the February/March 2011 issue of Fine Cooking, has a short ingredient list and is easy to cook in a Dutch oven. Everyone at my table (young and older) loved it. The kick here is the “ras el hanout” spice mixture. It’s a Moroccan blend that smells warm with cloves, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, aniseed.

I wouldn’t attempt to make my own blend of ras el hanout. As soon as I found it in a well-stocked spice store, I grabbed it. No regrets. Rabbits are small and easy to handle. If you’ve ever wrapped your hands around raw chickens, you’ll have no problems cutting up the rabbits. They’ve got small legs, small backs. It’s always easy to massage your meat with oil and spices, then marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

You know I adore frozen peas. I also sliced a small bunch of cute rainbow-colored carrots. After stewing for more than an hour, the rabbit was marvelously moist. Don’t worry yourself about “gaminess” -- no one will be turned off by the flavor of this meat. My youngster kept asking for leftovers (there were none!). Thrill your diners with this meal and let yourself be romanced by ras el hanout.

2 Rabbits (5.36 lbs. total) = $43.85
Onion = .51¢
Rainbow Carrots (1 bunch) = $2.48

RECIPE: a bit expensive, but a delicious (and easy) change of pace
marinate meat overnight, then devote two hours to prep and cooking
TASTE: cooked rabbit meat might look like chicken, but its flavor is a bit more complex, moist; the warm fragrances of ras el hanout will soothe and entice you

Next time I will make a kooky combo. I’ll cook the “Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie,” from January 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times, as well as the “Squid Salad with Cucumbers, Almonds and Pickled Plum Dressing,” from the July 23, 2010, New York Times. It’s OK if you giggle. See my meal when you come back to my site on Monday, April 11.