Rabbit and Mustard Ragoût

A classic combination. Serve it with fresh tagliatelle and, in November, a few shavings of white trufle.

Rabbit has overcome its poor image during the last few years. I use farmed rabbit rather than wild because the offal is so superior. It has a clean yet distinctive taste and, provided you don’t overcook it, will be moist and tender.

What was it that distressed people at the thought of eating rabbit? Was it myxomatosis? The idea of consuming Bugs Bunny? Poor Bambi doesn’t seem to curb venison sales, and swine vesicular disease hasn’t altered the popularity of bacon. One of life’s mysteries, perhaps, not for us to understand.

Ingredients

  • 1 farmed rabbit
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • groundnut oil

Stock

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 carrot, scraped and chopped
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) white wine
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
  • 1 fl oz (25 ml) olive oil
  • 2 oz (50 g) Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

The Rabbit

  1. Firstly joint it into two front, two hind legs and the main saddle containing two long fillets on top and the liver and kidneys in the cavity underneath. Cut out these fillets and the offal. Lift all membrane from the fillets and hind legs, then remove the bone from each of the hind legs. Cut the meat into large – 1 in (2.5 cm) – cubes.
  2. Chop the carcass and front legs for the stock.

The Stock

  • Place the chopped vegetables and the rabbit carcass and front legs into a roasting tray, and then roast in a hot oven – 400°F (200°C) Gas 6 – for about 30 minutes until brown.
  • Lift these bones and vegetables from the roasting tray into a medium-sized saucepan. Throw out any grease from the roasting tray and then deglaze with white wine and 10 fl oz (300 ml) cold water. Pour this liquor and a further 1½ pints (900 ml) water into the saucepan with the bones. Bring this to the boil and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Strain into a smaller saucepan and reduce until only 5 fl oz (150 ml) remains. Thicken this with the arrowroot dissolved in a little water.

    If the stock reduces too fast, top it up with a little more cold water. Skim the stock as it reduces and after you have added any more water.

To Complete

  • Season the rabbit with salt and pepper and fry in a hot pan with a little groundnut oil until sealed on each side. Remove the liver and kidneys which require no more cooking and place the rabbit cubes on butter paper or tin foil. Complete the cooking for 5 minutes in a hot oven, preheated to 400°F (200°C) Gas 6. Rabbit cooks quickly and will be very dry, like cottonwool, if overcooked.
  • Pour the stock, mustard and cream into a small saucepan with any cooking juices from the rabbit. Bring this to the boil and then whisk in the olive oil and grated cheese.
  • Spoon the sauce over the rabbit and serve with fresh pasta or mashed potatoes.
Loading
Loading
Loading