Rabbit rillettes

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

Known in my part of the woods as underground chicken, rabbit has a terrific flavour, especially when it is teamed with vegetables, herbs, spices, white wine and duck or goose fat in this rustic French paté. I would be sorry to see rabbits and their associated rural mythology go out of fashion and probably out of business. It is only recipes like this that will keep them on our table.


  • 2 wild rabbits, jointed
  • 1 tbsp rock salt or sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 thick (1 cm or ½ in) slices speck or kaiserfleisch
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 parsley stalks
  • 750 ml (one bottle) dry white wine
  • 4 tbsp duck or goose fat or lard
  • 1 extra bay leaf


Rub rabbits with salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Place in a large bowl with speck or kaiserfleisch, carrots, bay leaves, parsley stalks and white wine, cover and chill overnight.

Remove rabbit and pork, and pat dry. Heat fat in a solid, flameproof casserole that is wide enough to lay rabbits in one layer. Cook rabbit and pork until lightly golden, about 10 minutes, turning often. Add marinade to the pan, until liquid just covers the meat. Bring to the boil, then lower heat and cook at a simmer, uncovered, for 3 or 4 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone.

Remove rabbit and pork from the pan, and shred the meat. Add salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind rabbit has already been salted. Continue to simmer the cooking liquid if necessary, until reduced to one cup in volume. Strain the liquid, and pour over the shredded meat.

Pack meat into a porcelain bowl, pour a little extra melted fat on top to seal, set a bay leaf into the fat, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serve with crusty French bread, a few cornichons (small green pickled gherkins) and a salad.