Braised Rabbit with Green Peppercorns and Puy Lentils


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main meal

Appears in

You can cook this with chicken if you are not fond of rabbit. The thickened juices are infused with the warm fresh bite of green peppercorns, balanced by the earthiness of Puy lentils. I’ve used enough peppercorns to give the dish noticeable zest but it is not overpowering. If you would like more heat, increase the amount to 1 tablespoon.


  • olive oil 6 tbsp
  • pancetta cubes 140 g/5 oz
  • onion 1 large, finely chopped
  • celery stalks 4, halved lengthways, then sliced crossways into 1.5cm/⅝in pieces
  • rabbits 2, each weighing about 1 kg/2 lb 4 oz, jointed
  • garlic cloves 3 large, thinly sliced
  • fresh bay leaf 1
  • rosemary sprigs 2
  • dried green peppercorns 2 tsp, crushed
  • sea salt 1 tsp
  • Puy lentils 350 g/12 oz
  • chicken or game stock 1.5 litres/ pints, preferably home-made
  • flat-leaf parsley leaves chopped to make 6 tbsp, stems discarded
  • lemon finely grated zest of 1


Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy-based casserole. Add the pancetta cubes and fry over medium-high heat until beginning to crisp at the edges.

Add the onion and celery and shunt around the pan until translucent. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and leave the vegetables to relinquish their juices (or sweat, as many writers say) for 10 minutes, without letting them brown.

While the vegetables are softening, heat the rest of the oil in a large, high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the rabbit joints, in batches if necessary – it’s important not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 8–10 minutes, turning, until browned. Set the joints aside on a large plate. (Don’t wash the pan yet.)

Give the vegetables a stir, then add the garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, peppercorns and sea salt. Cook for a minute, then add the lentils and rabbit joints, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.

Pour a splash of stock into the pan you used for frying the rabbit. Stir over medium heat using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the tasty sediment. Pour this into the casserole along with the remaining stock. Cover, bring to the boil, then simmer very gently for 1¼ hours or maybe a little longer. The rabbit should be tender, the lentils plump and the juices thickened.

Combine the parsley and lemon zest. Stir all but 2 tablespoons into the casserole. Check the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.

Transfer to a warm serving dish and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and lemon zest mixture.