Rabbit with Mushrooms and Thyme

9:00 pm on 19 July 2004

This is a traditional French bistro dish that I have cooked for years. One of my most memorable meals of rabbit was enjoyed in a house set amongst vineyards. Needless to say the rabbits we ate had, not long before, been dining on choice vine shoots near the house. This dish comes from one of my favourite books, Bistro, by Patricia Wells. Farmed rabbits are readily available from butchers and supermarkets or you could use chicken instead.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh rabbit, about 1 ½ kg, cut into 7 or 8 serving pieces, liver reserved (or use a chicken liver)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 med onions, coarsely chopped
  • 150g streaky bacon, diced
  • 250g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 4 bayleaves and a sprig of thyme, tied with string
  • 3 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

Method

Season the rabbit pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a deep-sided frypan over a medium heat. Gently brown the rabbit all over, until well coloured.

Remove the rabbit to a dish. Increase the heat a little and add the onion, bacon and mushrooms to the pan. Brown for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, allowing it to bubble up and deglaze the base of the pan. Return the rabbit to the pan along with the bayleaf and thyme bundle. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the rabbit is tender – about 20 minutes.

Remove the rabbit to a warm platter. Cover and keep warm.

Combine the rabbit/chicken liver, mustard, thyme leaves and breadcrumbs in a food processor. Process until smooth then stir the mixture into the sauce remaining in the pan.

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