Rabbit and Pumpkin with Mustard

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The mild tenderness of domestic rabbit is perfect for this lovely autumn dish. The pumpkin softens to form a delicious pale orange sauce, rich yet mild, and the mustard and green peppercorns add zest.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1–1.1 kg (2-2¼ lb) joints of rabbit
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
  • 125 g (4 oz) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 kg (2 lb) piece pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons bottled green peppercorns, drained and crushed roughly
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) white wine or cider
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) double cream
  • Salt
  • Flat-leaved parsley sprigs to garnish

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the caraway seeds and stir around for a minute, then add the rabbit joints and seal on both sides. Next add the chopped garlic and stir around for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the butter, then, when the butter has melted in the hot casserole, add the chopped pumpkin, the crushed green peppercorns, the mustard, the white wine or cider and a sprinkling of salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly.

Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the centre of a preheated oven, 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4 for 1¼ hours. Stir with a wooden spoon to break up the pumpkin until it becomes a purée, then replace the lid and continue cooking for another 20–30 minutes.

Just before serving, pour the double cream over the top and garnish with parsley sprigs.

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