Thursday, 19 February 2009

Rabbit in a Cream & Mustard Sauce

I used to have a pet rabbit. Thankfully I can't remember what it was called, and so I wasn't in any way squeamish about cooking this bunny up. I spotted a wild rabbit, already skinned and portioned, for sale in Borough Market for a mere £5. I immediately snapped it up, and set about cooking it. Of course, I didn't have a recipe in mind when I bought it but having a quick squizz around inspired this.

Rabbits need long and slow cooking, especially the wild ones. I wanted some sort of rich and robust stew, but also I wanted flavours suited especially to rabbit; sometimes stew can be a bit generic.

This is a really rich dish - I cooked the usual pasta for two but we were properly stuffed afterwards, so I'd suggest a smaller portion (shock horror). Due to the long cooking times, the overnight rest and the resultant rich stock, this was one seriously tasty pasta sauce; especially given the relatively simple ingredients.

Rabbit in a Cream & Mustard Sauce

Serves 3

1 wild rabbit, jointed

3 carrots, diced

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 sticks of celery, chopped roughly

1/2 a pint of white wine

1/2 a pint of chicken stock

2 bay leaves

A handful of peppercorns

250gr noodles (dry weight), like fettucine

100ml double cream

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Large handful of flat-leaf parsley

1 lemon

In a large saucepan, sweat the onion, garlic, carrot and celery for 20 mins. Dust the rabbit portions in seasoned flour and brown in a non-stick frying pan. Add to the carrot mixture, then add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Add the stock, white wine and a tsp of salt, then bring to a boil. Turn it down to a gentle simmer and cook for a good 3 or 4 hours. Check that it isn't dry - add more chicken stock if it is.

Leave to cool (I left it overnight) and take the rabbit pieces out and take the meat off the bones. Set to one side. Reheat the sauce so that it loosens up a bit, then in a fine sieve, sieve the vegetables off. You should get a rich stock coming through the sieve. Smoosh (yes, technical term) the mixture with a wooden spoon until you're sure you got all the goodness out of it, then discard the vegetable pulp. Add the meat back in and warm gently. Add the double cream and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes until thickened slightly. Slop in the mustard, serve well, and toss with pasta, garnishing with a LOT of chopped parsley and served with a wedge of lemon. Don't forget the black pepper.


Anonymous said...

Oooh, lovely! We did a similar dish a while ago, rabbit stew the first night and then the leftovers turned into pasta sauce the next. The pasta was definitely the best of the two.

We didn't use mustard though, that's a really good idea.

Fiona Beckett said...

Great recipe, Lizzie. I love rabbit - very underappreciated in this country. Frugal too!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Lizzie, you did this rabbit justice. It looks fabulous, I can just about taste it...

Dan said...

This looks gorgeous. Sadly, my girlfriend refuses to eat Rabbit (Too much watership down, a much loved pet as a child etc etc.) And it's not practical to cook for one.
I'll just have to admire your dish instead.

Alex said...

My pet bunnies were called Peter (so original) and Cleo but that doesn't stop me craving this dish!

Does that make me a bad person?

Browners said...

Looks amazing! I'm going to give it a go in pie format. Just to make it a bit more unhealthy!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Mmm. Yum. I've had rabbit a couple of times recently (cooked for me, not by me, I'm ashamed to say), and it's been terrific. This looks like another winner.

Anonymous said...

£5? Sounds like rabbit has undergone inflation. I swear it was £4 last time I bought it from Borough. Still, it isn't exactly expensive and worth getting it there rather than at a smaller farmers market as jointing the rabbits can be a real pain.

Merlotti said...

You must be psychic - this was on several 'specials boards' yesterday in the Southern French Alps' ski resort of Auron, both up and down the mountain. They did a rabbit leg (?) in a cream and wholegrain mustard sauce, served with chips and a green salad. Delicious, as I'm sure yours was too.

Anonymous said...

i'm with fiona, but talking about america (since that's where i live)... rabbit is totally underappreciated here. it's ridiculous. we posted 3 recipes utilizing rabbit on our blog and some of the backlash we received from them were ridiculous! people don't understand that it's not that nuts to eat rabbit. this dish is a bit similar to one of the ones we made but we added tarragon. i heart rabbit. thanks for showcasing it beautifully.

Anonymous said...

This sounds esquisite - and incredibly mouthwatering!

I haven't got the pet problem - I have three pet rats, which you rarely see in restaurants! Oh, and a hamster, which is probably even rarer!

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Unknown said...

Rabbit is a traditional meal here in Malta.. Rabbits are not a traditional pets here..
It's tasty and a low fat meat.. I like this recipe.. Will try it for a change from the usual tomato sauce based recipe we do here.. Cheers :-)

Matthew Trikones said...

Wild rabbit stew baked in the oven . My father was turkish and he cooked rabbit this way . Cut rabbit into serving size . Use half can high quality tomato sauce . Place in oval roasting pan . Surround rabbit with15 unpeeled shallots. One whole head of garlic seperated and unpeeled , Place small spice bag of pickling spice in , ! cup good wine , Half stick butter , I pound roasted chestnuts , small portion butter , roast 3 hrs in 300dg oven add water as neded Yumm