Greatest recipes ever: Rabbit with mustard and bacon

‘There have been many cookbooks written about game, but few are as sensible as this one. These two foodies have been the mainsprings of a number of noted gastropubs, and their recipes are both practical and have a modern feel to them’

Charles Campion

Rabbit with Mustard and Bacon

Extract from Trish Hilferty and Tom Norrington-Davies’

Game: The Cookbook

Published by Absolute Press in 2009

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To serve 4

This casserole dish is based on the classic French dish lapin à moutarde. The mustard mellows as it cooks so, even if you don’t relish the idea of cooking with such a spicy condiment, the smooth results make it worth taking a punt on this recipe.


200ml chicken stock
12 round shallots
2tbsp of unsalted butter or duck fat
200g piece of smoked streaky bacon, cut into 1cm lardons
4 tame or 8 wild rabbit legs
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
150ml dry white wine
300ml double cream
2tbsp of Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 150˚C/Gas Mark 2. Pour the chicken stock into a small saucepan and bring it to a brisk boil. Add the whole shallots, turn the heat underneath down to medium and poach for five minutes, until they are just tender. Scoop them out of the pan and set aside.

Heat the butter or duck fat in a heavy-based frying pan and, over a medium heat, gently sauté the bacon pieces until they are crisp and golden.

Spoon the bacon from the pan into a casserole dish and return the pan to the heat. Brown the rabbit legs, in batches if needs be, until they are completely sealed and have a good, even colour, then add them to the casserole.

Now turn the poached shallots around the fat in the pan, giving them a good coating, stir through the garlic and pour over the white wine. Give the wine a blast of heat: let it bubble for a minute before adding the stock and the cream.

Whisk the Dijon mustard and check the seasoning (it may only need a small grind of pepper at this point) before pouring the sauce over the rabbit and bacon in the casserole. Cover the pan tightly, place onto the middle shelf of the oven and leave to braise for 45 minutes or until the rabbit is tender. Depending on the size and age of the rabbit, this may take a little longer.

If this is the case, keep checking the meat every five minutes. When the rabbit is done, transfer the legs to a warm plate.

Place the casserole over a high heat and let it bubble briskly until it has reduced by about
a third- the sauce wants to be quite thick and creamy. You could also add a little more mustard at this stage if you feel it has lost some of its piquancy during cooking. Stir the legs back through the sauce and serve. Our perfect accompaniment to this dish would be a big bowl of mash.