Long before the existence of this blog, and before taking a series interest in cooking, one of the first dishes I prepared for my husband was rabbit. I know it seems like a serious dish for someone who could, at that time, barely boil water. But I swear I really did cook it and managed to impress my husband with the delicious results.
I certainly didn’t grow up eating rabbit at home. My husband, however, did and he quite enjoys the flavour. He was the one who gave me my first taste of rabbit. And as clichéd as this sounds — it does taste like chicken…or is it that chicken tastes like rabbit? Anyways, back in the states it was a meal we had only on special occasions, because it isn’t easily found and can also be rather expensive. When we moved to Paris we had better access to it and at a lower price too.
Shortly after arriving in Paris, my husband and I discovered a fantastic restaurant in the Latin Quarter who’s specialty is traditional and country style French cuisine. I can still remember the perfectly tender roasted rabbit in a tangy mustard sauce. The restaurant became one of our favorites to eat at and take visiting guest to. Long after moving away the taste and memory of the lapin stayed with me. So when I was teaching myself to cook it was one of the first dishes I wanted to impress my husband with. Luckily I didn’t mess up the recipe and my husband was impressed that I had cooked the special meal for him.
In the Czech Republic rabbit is also commonly found both fresh and frozen throughout the year. But for some reason we just don’t eat it as often as we used to in France. A couple of days ago my husband picked up these two thighs and immediately I knew they had to be cooked in a mustard sauce with a little honey too.
Here’s how I cooked the rabbit.
- 2 rabbit thighs (weighing 550g or 1.2 lbs)*
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup or 250 ml low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp dried sage, crumbled
- 3-4 tsps of German style or smooth grainy mustard, or to taste
- 1 heaping tbsp honey, or to taste
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat the oven to 200c or 390f, prepare a baking dish and set aside. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated. Taste and adjust if desired, then set aside.
- Using a sharp knife, gently puncture small whole into the thights. Then rub with a little bit of salt and black pepper, set aside. Heat oil until hot, then add rabbit. Allow to brown on all sides as evenly as possible. Once browned use a slotted spatula to remove and place in baking dish. In the same pan, and oil, fry the garlic just until soft, make sure it doesn’t burnt. Remove the garlic from pan and add to rabbit. Pour the mustard sauce into baking dish. Place in center of oven and cook for 1 hour. Halfway through flip the rabbit and cook for 20 minutes, then flip back for the remaining 10. Sauce should have thickened and halved. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sauce and desired side dishes.
I served the rabbit with steamed white rice and sautéed green beans. It can also be served with potatoes — mashed or boiled or roasted, and green vegetable of choice.
What did hubby think? He said it was one of the best rabbits he’s ever eaten! The sauce tasted amazing and the meat was so tender it fell right off the bone. Not a bad review at all.
Would it be wrong to eat rabbit for Easter? I mean what do bunnies have to do with the holiday anyways?