1 or more rabbits, whole; liver reserved but head removed before serving
Truss your rabbits short, lay them in a basin or warm water for ten minutes, then put them into plenty of water, and boil them about half an hour; if large ones, three quarters; if very old, an hour. Mince the liver and lay it round the dish, or make liver sauce and send it up in a boat.
N.B. It will save much trouble to the carver, if the rabbits be cut up in the kitchen into pieces fit to help at table, and the head divided, one half land at each end, and slices of lemon and the liver, chopped very finely, laid on the sides of the dish.
At all events, cut off the head before you send it to table, we hardly remember that the thing ever lived if we don’t see the head, while it may excite ugly ideas to see it cut up in an attitude imitative of life; besides, for the preservation of the head, the poor animal sometimes suffers a slower death.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: This really tells us more (and more than we want to know) about rabbit-raising and -butchering customs of the early 19th century than it does about the cooking procedures for same. To “truss your rabbits short” meant to tie them with legs together or in a folded position, making it easier for them to fit into a pot on the stove. If being trussed for roasting or broiling the legs would be extended so as to go on a spit before the fire.