Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

Classic French rabbit in Dijon mustard sauce, or Lapin à la moutarde.

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce
Elise Bauer

Simply Recipes contributor Hank Shaw and I "met" years ago over a comment he made about rabbit on Michael Ruhlman's blog. I hounded him for a rabbit recipe back then so I'm delighted that he is sharing this French classic with us now, Lapin à la moutarde, or Rabbit in Mustard Sauce. ~Elise

This is a French country classic, and there are endless variations. All are good.

Some recipes bake the rabbit, others braise it, as I do. The keys are mustard—good grainy mustard, not the bright yellow stuff you get at the ballpark—shallots, and something creamy. I use heavy cream, but some people use crème fraiche, others sour cream.

Rabbit has a mild flavor that is all its own. Think chicken breast, but with a slightly different flavor. It is one of my favorites, although I mostly use wild cottontail rabbits.

Domestic rabbit is readily available frozen in good supermarkets, and any decent butcher can get you some. And yes, if you are skeeved out by rabbit, use chicken instead. But rabbit is better.

Rabbits usually come whole, and if you don’t know how to break them down yourself, ask the supermarket butcher to do it for you. This gets a little harder with frozen rabbits, so I’ve posted step-by step instructions on breaking down a rabbit here.

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce
Elise Bauer

More Great Rabbit Recipes

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 60 mins
Total Time 90 mins
Servings 4 servings

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.

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. Sprinkle rabbit pieces with salt:

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

  2. Brown the rabbit pieces in butter:

    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.

    brown rabbit pieces in butter for rabbit recipe
    Elise Bauer
    brown rabbit pieces on both sides for Rabbit in Mustard Sauce recipe
    Elise Bauer

    Once the rabbit is browned, remove it to a bowl.

  3. Brown the chopped shallots:

    Add the shallots and brown them well. This will take 3-4 minutes.

  4. Make the sauce:

    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.

    make mustard sauce for rabbit recipe
    Elise Bauer
  5. Coat rabbit with sauce, cover and simmer:

    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.

    coat rabbit with mustard sauce
    Elise Bauer
  6. When the meat is ready, gently remove it to a platter
  7. Reduce the sauce, add cream and parsley:

    Turn the heat to high and boil the sauce down by half. Turn off the heat and add the cream and parsley. Stir the sauce to combine.

  8. Serve:

    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.

Links:

Rabbit in red mole sauce by Marc of No Recipes

Collection of rabbit recipes from Hank of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook