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Slow cooked rabbit with Dijon mustard and cider

By November 28, 2019 , , , , ,

Growing up my family ate a lot of rabbit. Mostly it was boiled in water and then fried and that was it. It was only when I bought a cookbook called Cuisine Grandmere and having spent some time in France that I realised there was more to rabbit than just a dry chewy piece of meat. Wild rabbit will require a long slow cook and can be quite dry, so is well suited to casseroles. Cider and mustard work really well together in the sauce, the tang of the mustard complements the sweetness of the cider. 

4 rabbit legs
2 shallots roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 stick celery finely chopped
1 medium sized carrot finely chopped
100g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon cut into small cubes
20g dijon mustard
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1  small sage leaf
1 sprig rosemary
250ml cider (use an off dry cider)
250ml chicken stock
30ml creme fraiche
20g butter (I use this to help finish the sauce)
50ml oil for frying
Salt and pepper to season

In a heavy based cast iron pan, on a low heat fry the shallots, celery, carrot and garlic in the oil until soft and translucent
Add the pancetta and fry for at least 7 minutes until it starts to release its fat, you don't want this to get crispy
Remove these ingredients to one side, retaining the fat in the pan and turning the heat up high and brown the rabbit legs on each side for 1 minute, you do not want to cook them through, just give them a little colour
Remove the rabbit to one side and keeping the heat high, add the cider and allow to boil for about 1 minute, this cooks off the harsh alcohol
Using a pastry or silicone brush, brush the rabbit legs in the mustard, making sure to cover all over
Lower the heat and add the onion mix and rabbit back to the pan along with the herbs, top up with the chicken stock
Place in the oven at 140c (fan), 150c (normal) for 2 hours with the lid on
If cooking on the BBQ, set up for indirect at 140c, you can also add some apple chips for extra flavour, I like to keep the lid off on the BBQ as it allows the flavours to develop
One the cooking time is finished remove the pan from the oven or BBQ
To finish the sauce, remove the rabbit to one side and keep warm
Place the pan on a low heat on the hob, add the creme fraiche and stir through for about 5 mins, turn off the heat and add the butter to thicken the sauce
Place the rabbit back in the pan to warm through before serving and season to taste
I like to serve this with a rich and creamy mash.

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