Braised Rabbit with Mustard

It is probably the biggest divider between our two nations. The French on one hand look at the rabbit as food, the British as a pet (inedible and uneatable). I my childhood home we ate this dish every other Sunday. I clearly remember Maman Blanc having misty eyes as she fed her rabbits every day.

Braised Rabbit with Mustard

Ingredients Required

1 Whole farmed rabbit (1.5-2kg) cut into 14 pieces (1x head, 1x neck, 2x shoulders, 2x legs, 3x saddle, 3x rib cage, 2x belly)
4 pinches Sea salt
4 pinches Black pepper, crushed
1 large tbsp Dijon mustard
60g Unsalted butter
180g Onion cut into 6
8 cloves Garlic, skin on
150g Small button mushrooms
2 tbsp White wine vinegar
200ml White wine(*2) boiled for 30 second, reserved
150ml Water
8 Whole black peppercorns (*3)
2 Sage leaves
2 sprigs Tarragon
1 Bay leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
To finish:
1 tbsp Chopped parsley

Cooking Method

Preparing the rabbit

Preheat the oven to 120°C. In a large bowl, season the pieces of rabbit with the salt and  pepper, mix in the mustard until each piece is coated by a thin film of mustard.

Cooking the rabbit

  1. In a thick bottomed, large casserole dish on a medium heat, melt the butter and cook until ightly foaming, sear and colour the legs, shoulder pieces, neck and head on each side for 7-8 minutes (*4). Repeat in a separate pan with the Saddle pieces and then remove to a plate.
  2. Whist the rabbit pieces are browning, in a separate small saucepan, on a medium heat sweeten the onion, garlic, mushrooms, peppercorns and herbs in 20g of butter for 10 minutes until lightly golden(*5). Season a little after 2 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar(*6) to the rabbit and reduce the liquor down to a syrup.
  4. To the legs, shoulders, neck and head, mix in the garlic, onion and herbs, add the wine and water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook in the pre-heated oven for one hour, stirring occasionally. Add the browned saddle pieces to the pan and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serving the rabbit

  1. To finish the dish allow the liquid to reduce on a high heat by 1/3.
  2. Pour the sauce over the pieces of rabbit, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with carrots, French beans, Swiss chard, braised lettuce or any other seasonal vegetables.
  3. Transfer to the table and let your guests help themselves.