Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

You will probably get the kidneys with your rabbit. It is your choice whether to keep them or not. I always do, and I think they are the second-best part of the animal after the hind legs. Rabbit kidneys are mild in flavor and are a warm, soft, rabbity morsel in this dish. If you choose to use them, strip off all the fat, as well as the gossamer membrane that surrounds them.

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces (see How to cut up a rabbit)
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup grainy country mustard, like Dijon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Method

1 Salt your rabbit pieces well and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

2 Heat the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan with a lid. Pat the rabbit pieces dry and brown them in the butter. Do this at a moderate pace – you don’t want the butter to scorch – and don’t let the rabbit pieces touch each other. Do it in batches if you need to.
Once the rabbit is browned, remove it to a bowl. Add the shallot and brown it well. This will take 3-4 minutes.

3 Pour in the white wine and turn the heat to high. Scrape off any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the mustard, thyme and water and bring to a rolling boil. Taste the sauce for salt and add some if needed.

4 Add the rabbit pieces, coat them with the sauce, then drop the heat to low. Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes. You want the meat to be nearly falling off the bone. It might need more time, but should not need more than an hour total. Wild rabbits sometimes need more time.

5 When the meat is ready, gently remove it to a platter. Turn the heat to high and boil the sauce down by half. Turn off the heat and add the cream and parsley. Stir to combine and return the rabbit to the pan. Coat with the sauce and serve at once.

Serve this dish with crusty bread and a big white wine, such as a white Bordeaux, white Cotes du Rhone blend or a buttery California Chardonnay. If you prefer beer, try pairing this with an unfiltered wheat beer.

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Comments

  • Bonnie

    This was one of the best things I have ever made. I can’t wait to make it again. We get rabbits from the farmers market. If I close my eyes and eat I can imagine I am in Paris eating!

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you liked it Bonnie!

  • Guy d'Anjou

    I used all of the barn yard,to cook this recipe and served potatoes rissoleed in duck fat and asparagus with butter. Very yummy, and the rabbit was also reasonably priced.

  • Candace

    I thought this was great, but most of the kids did not like it (they are ketchup eaters tho). Also, I thought it needed quite a bit longer cooking to make it tender and these were domesticated.

  • Shannon and Kath

    We tried this recipe tonight – first time cooking with Rabbit, not the last! Delicious! Thank you.

    I think you could substitute thyme with tarragon if you wish. Also I agree that wild rabbit needs longer.

    But still an awesome recipe – and yes it would work very well with Chicken too. :-)

  • Harald Bruckner

    Thank you for this simple but elegant recipe.

    Just finished and my o my. Ultra tasty.

  • Justin Witt

    I made this tonight with a European hare (we have lots of them down here in Argentina) and was completely pleased with the results. Thank you so much for this wealth of information. I can’t wait to try some of the waterfowl recipes next!

  • rose

    made this tonight…yummmm.
    had to search out rabbit (why don’t our markets carry more fun meats like the french markets??) and bone up on my butchering skills, but it was worth it! i used fresh thyme and i wish i had used a bit more, and i think the meat could have cooked a tad longer to make it “fall off the bone” more, but this is a great recipe that i will definitely use again. i might use a tad less cream next time too…but maybe i let it simmer a tad too long and it reduced…who knows.
    anyway, for those thinking about attempting this, it is a great dish to make for company…it appears impressive without a huge amount of work (once you break down the meat!).
    thanks hank and elise!

  • Susan

    Excellent!

  • FB

    Making this recipe right now and the addition of thyme seems to be missing. Might wanna update your recipe. Just added it in with the simmer, only place is made sense really.

    Good catch! Yes, toss it in when you make the mustard sauce. I’ve updated the instructions. ~Hank

  • Matthew

    This made a really nice change from the usual chicken, beef, lamb, seafood… Very filling too.

  • Zach Thomas

    Sounds great! I’ve never had rabbit, though, and as my folks quiver at the thought of even eating duck, I think I’ll be hard pressed to get them to try. Can anyone recommend a good entry-level rabbit dish — or is this a good one to start on?

  • anna

    ps. my first time cooking rabbit. thanks for the inspiration! (i’ve tried most of your food on this blog..time for me to jump to your blog, i guess ;o) my local butcher had it, no problem. much easier to find than the Achiote paste…the rest of the ingredients i had. cool. now…if i can fool my kids that its chicken…thank you, anna (seattle)

  • Sylvie in Rappahannock

    Lapin a la Moutarde is one of my go-to fool-proof recipes for rabbit. Unlike Hank, I use domestic not wild rabbit, though. I baked mine in a hot oven for about an hour – whole – and when tarragon is in season I like to add some chopped one to the finishing sauce.

    As you say many variations, all delicious.

  • Anna

    Where do you get wild cottontail rabbit? I’d love to order some wild rabbit; I’m not as interested in domesticated rabbits raised on rabbit chow. My cat would adore some ground raw rabbit meat and organs, too.

    I hunt, so that’s where I get my wild rabbits. Selling wild game is illegal in the United States, so you are out of luck unless you can find a hunter to share, or learn to hunt them yourself. Sorry! ~Hank

  • Steve K

    I make a variation of this recipe that we have a couple of times a year. My recipe calls for poultry stock, rather than water, and about 2-3 cloves garlic. Once the meat is braised to the point where it’s tender, I pull it off the bone and add it back to the sauce. Rabbit bones are somewhat small and the pieces can be difficult to navigate if you’re not familiar with the meat, so this step just makes it easier to eat.

    This dish also great served over egg noodles or rice.