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Saddle of Rabbit in Cocoa Mustard Recipe

Saddle of Rabbit in Cocoa Mustard Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • One 3 ¼ pound rabbit, cut into small pieces
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig flat leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig tarragon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 chives, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar


Mix cocoa with the mustard and the crème fraîche and set aside. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. When very hot, fry the rabbit for 2-3 minutes stirring well. Add the thyme, parsley, tarragon, garlic, shallots, chives, and the bay leaves and then add enough water to cover. Dissolve the bouillon in a little water and add to the saucepan with the cocoa mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 45 minutes.

In a separate saucepan, sauté the peppers in the melted butter with the sugar, then add to the cooked rabbit. Adjust the seasoning if desired. Serve hot.

Braised rabbit with mustard (lapin a la moutarde)

"Rabbit is probably the biggest divider between our two nations" says chef Raymond Blanc. "The French on one hand view rabbit as food the British as a pet (non edible). This dish was eaten every other Sunday. I clearly remember Maman Blanc having misty eyes as she fed her rabbits every day. This cooking technique can be used for any meat. Of course, any of your favourite herbs could be added to the dish, and any vegetables too. Olives and wild mushrooms would be a lovely addition. Once you understand the technique you can use any type of meat you wish, from chicken to crocodile – actually, sorry you can’t, it’s an endangered species."



Skill level


To prepare rabbit

  • 1 x 1.5–2 kg whole farmed rabbit cut into 14 pieces (1 x head, 1 x neck, 2 x shoulders, 2 x legs, 3 x saddle, 3 x rib cage, 2 x belly, see Note 1)
  • 4 pinches crushed black peppercorns
  • 20 g Dijon mustard
  • 4 pinches sea salt

To cook rabbit

  • 60 g unsalted butter, plus 20 g extra
  • 180 g onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 8 garlic cloves, skin on
  • 150 g small button mushrooms
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 30 ml white wine vinegar
  • 200 ml white wine, boiled for 30 seconds, reserved
  • 150 ml water

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 120°C. In a large bowl, season rabbit with salt and crushed peppercorns. Add mustard and stir to coat rabbit.

Heat half the butter in a large heavy-based flameproof casserole dish over medium heat until lightly foaming. Cook legs, shoulder pieces, neck and head on each side for 7–8 minutes (see Note 2). Repeat in a separate pan with remaining butter and saddle, rib cage and belly pieces and then transfer to a plate.

While rabbit is cooking, heat extra butter in a small saucepan on medium. Cook onion, garlic, mushrooms, peppercorns and herbs for 10 minutes, until lightly golden (see Note 3). Season after 2 minutes. Add vinegar to rabbit and cook until liquid is reduced to a syrup (see Note 4).

Add garlic, onion and herbs to legs, shoulder, neck and head, then add wine and the water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook in oven, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add browned saddle pieces to pan and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Remove rabbit and vegetables from casserole dish. Heat liquid on high, until reduced by one-third. Pour sauce over rabbit, top with parsley and serve with French beans, Swiss chard, braised lettuce or any other seasonal vegetables.

1. First get to know your rabbit! Try to find the best breed. I like Rex de Poitou or "Label Rouge" breed. Their weight can be from 1.5 kg to 2 kg. Ask your butcher to prepare this for you. Wild rabbits, will weigh from 800 g to 1.2 kg and will take a little longer to cook than farmed ones, so add an extra 30 minutes to the cooking time until the meat just falls off the bone.

2. This must be done on a medium heat. You can actually hear the gentle sizzling of the butter. This must be done in one single layer and while the butter is beautifully browning the meat, the juices are leaking out, caramelising on the base of the pan which will create the rich flavour for your sauce. Do not stir the rabbit, let the pieces brown slowly. Sure, I could easily cook it in hot oil, but it would never get the same flavour.

3. Through gentle heating and sweetening you are translating the carbohydrate and starch into sugar and flavour. I am sure you all have tasted the difference between a raw onion and a cooked onion.

4.This is the main danger in the dish. The idea is to reduce down the vinegar and coat the rabbit in it. If you under reduce the vinegar, then you will have a sauce that is too acidic.

The rabbit in mustard sauce is the perfect dish to prepare when the weather is getting colder and autumn is approaching. it is also a good introduction on cooking gamey meat. In France that classic dish is called the Lapin a la moutarde and its consider a typical family dish. if you like to make this recipe you can refer to the technical articles on the mirepoix and aromatic stock

Start by detailing your meat and chop the carcass for the stock

Chop the chicken carcass in small pieces, detail your rabbit in pieces reserving the legs and meaty pieces on the side for cooking and use the bony part for the stock.

Start the Rabbit stock

peel and roughly chop the carrot, celery, and leek ( in a mirepoix) cut the onion in two and stick the cloves each half as. and finally make a bouquet garni. Now using a stockpot, add all of the meat carcasses, cover them with water water and bring to the boil. once the water boils add all of the vegetables and the bouquet garni in. put a lid on and leave to simmer for 45 minutes.

While the stock is cooking prepare the garnish

trim the mushrooms, put them in a sauce pan and barely cover in water. Add now 20 grams of butter, the juice of half a lemon and bring the mix the boil. when the water boil bring down to a simmer and cook the mushroom gently for 5 or 6 minutes. when done turn the heat off and leave the mushroom sitt in their juice.

For the white glazed onions: peel the pearl onions, put them all in a pan, cover with water (the water should barely cover the onions) add 20 grams of butter , 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. turn the heat on low and let the onions cook until all the water has evaporate. when all the water is gone turn the heat off and reserve teh onions on the side for later use.

Pre-cook the meat and start the sauce

finely slice an onion and have 2 tablespoon of flour at hand and season your rabbit meat with salt and pepper, then in dutch oven (or equivalent) pour 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. turn the heat on medium low and when the butter and oil mix is foaming add you pieces of rabbit int. color nicely on either side and reserve them on a tray.
through now in the pan the onion finely sliced and let them sweat for a few minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
now filter your stock (using a sieve) in another container and when done pour it over the onions (as shown in the video). bring to the boil adn let that sauce reduce by a 1/4. when reduced add 2 tablespoon of cream and reduce again by a 14.

Cook the Rabbit in the sauce

add now all of the precooked rabbit pieces in the sauce you just made, cover the pan with a lid and let the meat cook on a very low heat for 45 minutes to an hour maximum. ( time depends on the size of your rabbit pieces. ( the bigger the pieces the longer it takes to cook) however do not go over an hour of cooking or else the meat will get dry.

Finish the Sauce and serve

When the meat is cooked remove the pieces from the pan and put them on a tray temporally in order to finish the sauce.
in the pan add now 2 tablespoons of mustard, 1 tablespoon finely sliced fresh tarragon. if the sauce is too brown or too thick, add some extra cream in. stir well with a whisk and put the pieces back in the dish. your rabbit is now ready to be served.

Serve with either:
• Tagliatelle
• Rice
• Boiled potatoes

Saddle of Rabbit in Cocoa Mustard Recipe - Recipes

Everywhere in France, Dijon mustard, hot or mild, with or without seeds, is used as a quick seasoning sauce when grilling or roasting. In this Provençal recipe, the mustard is bolstered with chopped herbs and plenty of garlic. Roasted tomatoes are the natural accompaniment.

  • 3 tablespoons/45 ml olive oil, more for the roasting pan
  • 6 tablespoons/120 g Dijon mustard
  • 1 rabbit (about 3 pounds/1.35 kg), cut into pieces (see note below)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or savory
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, more for baking dish
  • 3 tablespoons browned bread crumbs (see note below)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup/175 ml medium-dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Oil a roasting pan. Mix the 3 tablespoons oil and mustard in a small bowl, and brush the rabbit pieces generously with the mixture, reserving some for basting them as they roast. Put the rabbit pieces in the prepared pan, and sprinkle them with more oil and the basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast the rabbit until tender and golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding the garlic cloves after the first 15 minutes. During cooking, turn the pieces from time to time, brushing them with more mustard mixture so they are always moist. Take care not to overcook the rabbit pieces or they will be dry.

For the tomatoes, core them and cut them in half through the equator. Oil a small baking dish and add the tomatoes, cut side up. In a small bowl, mix together the oil, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper, stirring to make a crumbly mixture. Spread it on the tomatoes. Bake them in the oven with the rabbit. When the skins split after 12 to 15 minutes, showing the tomatoes are tender, remove them from the oven, set aside, and keep warm.

When the rabbit pieces are done, transfer them to a platter with the garlic cloves and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. For the onion jus, add the onions to the roasting pan and fry on the stove top over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the pan juices. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and spoon the onions with their jus over the rabbit.

To serve, arrange the tomatoes around the edge of the platter. I do not advise reheating roasted rabbit because it will dry out, but you can cook it 3 or 4 hours ahead of serving, as both it and the tomatoes are excellent at room temperature.

Cutting a Rabbit into Pieces

Rabbit should be cut into equal pieces that will cook at the same speed. Trim and discard flaps of belly skin, tips of forelegs, and any other protruding bones. Using a heavy knife or cleaver, divide the rabbit crosswise into 3 sections: back legs, back, and forelegs including rib cage. Cut between the back legs to separate them, and then trim off the tail end of the backbone. Separate the forelegs in a similar fashion by chopping between the shoulders. Then cut the back (saddle) portion crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size of the rabbit. You should have 6 or 7 pieces. For 8 or 9 pieces, halve the back legs by cutting through the knee joint.

Bread Crumbs

For simplicity, use sliced white bread for bread crumbs.

Bread crumbs, browned: Discard crusts and toast bread in the oven at 350 degrees F/180 degrees F until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and work toast to crumbs in a food processor or blender. They may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Bread crumbs, dry white: Discard crusts and dry bread in a warm place or very low oven until crisp. Let cool and work to crumbs in a food processor or blender. They may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Bread crumbs, fresh white: Discard crusts from fairly dry white bread and cut into large cubes. Work cubes to crumbs in a food processor or blender. Use within 1 day.

Rabbit with mustard (lapin a la moutarde)

Where I grew up in Lyon, rabbit is often cooked in red wine, which is a shame because rabbit is such a beautiful, delicate meat and the red wine can overpower it. My recipe uses white wine and that is why I love this dish.



Skill level


  • 80 g butter, chopped
  • 600 g eschalots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500 g speck (see Note) or streaky bacon, rind removed, cut into 2 cm squares
  • 24 Swiss brown mushrooms
  • 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock
  • 1.25 litres dry white wine
  • 450 g Dijon mustard
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 3 tbsp chopped lemon thyme leaves
  • 75 g (½ cup) plain flour
  • 2 x 1.4 kg rabbits, each jointed into 6 pieces (see Note)
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1½ tbsp cornflour
  • chervil and pan-fried green beans, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


DRINK 2009 Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Caillerets’, Burgundy, France ($100)

Melt butter in a stockpot or large saucepan over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes or until starting to foam. Add eschalots and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 7 minutes or until eschalots are translucent.

Add speck and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until starting to colour. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until tender. Add stock and wine, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add mustard, cream and thyme, then remove from heat and set aside.

Place flour in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, then add 3 rabbit pieces, tossing to coat.
Shake off excess. Repeat in batches with remaining rabbit pieces and flour.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook rabbit, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden on all sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining oil and rabbit.

Add back legs and saddle pieces to reserved mustard cream sauce. Place pan over medium heat and cook, uncovered, for 35 minutes, then add remaining forelegs and cook for a further 35 minutes or
until rabbit is tender.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer rabbit, eschalots, speck and mushrooms to a plate. Cover and keep warm.

Combine cornflour and 1½ tbsp water, mixing until a paste forms, then stir into mustard mixture. Increase heat to medium–high and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened, then return rabbit, eschalots, speck and mushrooms to pan and cook for 2 minutes or until warmed through. Scatter over chervil and serve with pan-fried green beans.

• Speck is a German-style smoked bacon available from select delis and butchers.
• Using a sharp knife, separate the back legs from the forelegs by cutting across the backbone and ribcage. Cut between the back legs to separate them. Cut the saddle into two across the backbone, then cut the forelegs and ribcage into two along the backbone. You will have 6 pieces. Rabbits are also available (skinned, gutted and head removed) from select butchers. Ask your butcher to joint the rabbit for you.

Pan fried rabbit saddle, slow cooked leg meat with a mustard sauce

Our August recipe brought to you from chef Lloyd from the award-winning Cluny Bank Hotel in Forres.

Rabbit has more proteins and a lot less fat than pork or beef. It is traditionally jointed and either braised or stewed as if not cooked correctly can be quite dry and tough. Rabbit has a slightly more intense flavour than chicken.


  • 4 Rabbits – (8 saddles, 8 legs)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2pts chicken stock

Mustard Sauce

  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • white wine
  • 100ml of chicken stock
  • 200ml of whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • knob of butter
  • salt and pepper
  • pancetta cubes
  • pea shoots or watercress to garnish

Pre-heat oven to 150°C

Season the rabbit legs with salt and pepper.

Melt some butter in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Brown the rabbit legs all over and transfer to a large oven-proof casserole dish or roasting tray.

Add chicken stock and cover with lid or tin foil and place in oven for 1 -2 hours. You want the meat to be falling of the bone.

Add a knob of butter to a stainless steel pan and allow to melt over a medium heat. Add the shallots, cook until soft, then add the garlic. Cook for a further 30 seconds, shaking the pan to distribute evenly, then add a good splash of white wine

Bring to the boil, reduce the wine by half, then pour in the stock and reduce by half again.

Add the whipping cream and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until slightly thickened – this should take approximately 5 minutes. Season and set aside.

Remove the rabbit legs from the oven, remove from the stock and set to one side to cool slightly.

Remove meat from the bone, which should come away easily, four legs should be enough, you can use the others for another meal.

Cover leg meat with tin foil and keep warm.

Add a little butter and olive oil to a hot frying pan, fry off the pancetta cubes, remove from pan and set to one side.

Season the rabbit saddles with salt and pepper. Using the same pan as the pancetta was fried in, seal and brown the rabbit saddles on each side for for 2-3mins. Depending on how you like your meat (rare, med or well) you can either reduce the heat or place the pan in oven for a further 3-6 mins. The saddles do cook quickly and you want to keep them moist rather than dry out too much.

To plate, place rabbit leg meat on centre of the plate, place 2 rabbit saddles on top of this. Spoon sauce over rabbit and around the edges. Place a few cubes of pancetta in the sauce and top with pea shoots.

What to look for when buying rabbit

Look out for plump, pink rabbits that smell nice and fresh. If the rabbit has the head on, check the eyes - they should be bright and clear. Rabbits with bruised flesh or a lot of lead shot damage should be avoided - this meat will have an unpleasant bitter flavour. If the rabbits still have the kidneys in, check to make sure they have a good amount of white fat surrounding them - this indicates a younger, healthy rabbit that has had plenty of food throughout its life.

The RSPCA and other organisations have recently been pushing to raise awareness about inhumane treatment of some farmed rabbits, which is an increasingly common problem in this country. Ask your butcher or gamekeeper about the providence of the rabbit - if it is farmed, make sure you find out about where and in what conditions it was raised, and only buy rabbit from the UK. On the other hand, wild rabbits have a completely free-range lifestyle, more flavour and are in plentiful supply - a bit of a no brainer!

For enchiladas you will need:

About 4 cups of cooked rabbit (or chicken) meat
1/2 a batch of enchilada sauce
Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Tortillas (10 inch)

Put a thin layer of enchilada sauce down on the bottom of a glass baking pan.

Lay out a tortilla on a dinner plate. Add 1/8 of the rabbit or chicken meat starting at one end and stopping 2 inches from the other end of the tortilla.

Spoon some enchilada sauce over the meat. Not too much or it will make the tortilla get wet.

Add cheese. Roll over once and then fold empty two inch end towards center of tortilla. Continue to roll up enchilada and place seam side down in baking pan.

Continue until you have finished rolling 7 to 8 enchiladas or whatever will fit in your baking pan.

Pour enchilada sauce over top of enchiladas.

Sprinkle cheese on top, as much or as little as you want. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve.

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Roasted rack and saddle of rabbit with wine to match


  • 1 long saddle and rack of rabbit preferably with kidneys and liver (optional)
  • 4 baby artichokes
  • 1 tbsp pitted Kalamata olives
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • A handful of Rocket cress

To prepare the roast pepper sauce:

  • 1 Large Red pepper
  • 1 Salted anchovy
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • A pinch of piment d’espelette (chilli powder)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place the pepper on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 45 mins until the skin is blackened. Remove from the oven and place into a plastic bag (this helps to remove the skin). When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin with your fingers. Then place all of the ingredients in a food processor including the roast pepper. Blitz until the red sauce is nice and smooth. Don’t forget to season.
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water and the squeeze of a lemon (this will insure the artichoke hearts won’t oxidize whilst your prepping). To turn the artichokes, begin by pulling off the dark green leaves to expose the more tender, lighter ones within. Then, with a paring knife, slice through each leaf to cut off the top, turning the artichoke in your hand as you go. The final step is to remove the choke in the center of the heart with the help of a small spoon.
  4. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the artichokes for 5 minutes until tender. Strain off and sauté the vegetables in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil over a high heat. As soon as the artichokes are a beautiful caramelized colour, remove from the pan.
  5. Slice down both sides of the back bone and debone the saddle. You should obtain 2 rectangular pieces of rabbit comprising of the loin and belly. You can also ask your butcher to French trim the rack for extra finesse.
  6. Place the saddle on a piece of cling film and season with salt and pepper. For those who appreciate offal place the halved kidneys and chopped liver in the centre. Then roll the loins up tightly and tie a knot at each end to insure your ballotines are water tight.
  7. To ensure the rabbit is cooked properly and doesn’t have the cotton texture we all dislike, it’s best to poach the ballotines. Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil and immediately switch off then poach the ballotines for 10 minutes. Remove from the water once the time has elapsed and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Then remove the cling film and lightly roast both cylinders in a medium sized frying pan together with the rack. Baste with butter for approximately for 3 minutes until golden.
  9. Remove the meat from the pan and leave to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing. In the same pan, gently sauté the the cherry tomatoes and halved olives.
  10. Delicately dress your plate with all the elements and scatter the peppery rocket all over.

Very recent, the brand Lapin well Since the summer of 2019, it has been committed to a new breeding model that respects animal welfare, a trendy concern that even seems very important for the youngest consumers.

The charter of this collective of breeders imposes a 100% plant-based food without GMOs, rabbits born in France and raised in spacious enclosures where they can express their natural behavior (running, resting, hiding, etc.). To be followed closely.