Roasted Rabbit with shallots, garlic and fresh herbs in a white wine sauce is an easy version of a more complex French approach to cooking rabbit.
Never Had Rabbit!
I am not sure why rabbit meat is eaten more widely in Europe than in America, but it is an absolutely beautiful, lean, tender and flavorful meat!
If it were not so expensive, I would highly recommend it over chicken, as rabbit tastes like a more delicate version of chicken.
Finding rabbit may be a bit of a challenge, though good supermarkets will order for you if you ask their butcher.
Roasted Rabbit For A Memorable Meal
If a special occasion meal is what you’re after, or a meal that is sure to impress dinner guests, this rabbit recipe is both easy and layered with luscious flavors of French country cooking.
In recent years, I have taken to making this recipe for New Year’s Eve dinner parties because it is easy and doesn’t require last minute cooking while guests have arrived.
Roasted Rabbit Without Sauce
While I prefer the lean meat of a rabbit to be roasted in a fat rich sauce, it can be roasted without a sauce.
For this method of roasting, lots of herbs, olive oil and butter rubbed over both sides of the whole rabbit, then covered during roasting provides a lovely rustic rabbit.
Just take its temperature to be certain it is cooked as it should be.
Mustard White Wine Sauce
Mustard is a savory, tangy addition to any sauce especially when white wine is added to it.
The color alone, gives this rabbit recipe such a warm creamy appearance, which is perfect for rabbit, since it has such a delicate flavor on its own.
A little splash of cream or creme fraiche deeps the richness of the sauce, just as a little splash of full cream coconut milk would also do to enhance this mustard wine sauce.
When choosing a white wine for this savory sauce, be certain to go with a dry, crisp, light in flavor white wine, and never a sweet white wine.
The light flavored white wines add just the right amount of acidity to the mustard sauce and by all means go ahead and use a Dijon mustard, or grainy dark mustard, but please… not that bright yellow stuff you see on hotdogs.
Wine Sauces For Rabbit
At other times I have prepared rabbit with a red wine sauce, with capers, rosemary, olives and tomatoes, something my British hubby calls ‘Jugged Hare‘.
I must say that I prefer this rabbit recipe made with a mustard white wine sauce, simply because it doesn’t change the delicate color or flavors of the rabbit.
Rabbit flavor is just delightful on its own and the subtle savory flavors of a mustard sauce compliments rather than covers the rabbit.
While rabbit doesn’t have much meat, the meat that is on the rabbit is simply tender and delicious.
Cutting The Rabbit For Roasting
While there are several tutorials on the internet that will show you how to cut the rabbit into serving portions, I found it quite easy to do without them.
It separates much the same as you would cut up a whole chicken only much easier since the bones are few and delicate, making them easy to cut through.
With a large knife cut the hind legs loose from the body. Then split the remaining piece down the center, into two pieces and cut the front legs from that section so you are looking at 6-pieces of rabbit.
How To Cook Rabbit
While there are as many ways to cook a rabbit as there are a chicken, I find that both rabbit and chicken retain their moisture best when the outside is seared quickly in a hot pan, then simmered slowly in a liquid, either on top the stove or in the oven.
Usually you would find a rabbit stew cooked on top of the stove, low and slow for a couple of hours with lots of veggies.
The butter and cream in this mustard wine sauce gives the rabbit just the right amount of fat needed when cooking this very lean meat.
Since the wine will cook down rather rapidly in this sauce, the added liquids of either water or a broth helps the meat to simmer slowly in a hot bath.
Of course chicken stock can be used as the broth, but I don’t like to change the flavor of the rabbit by using another type of meat stock.
And so I will often make a vegetable stock from leeks and lots of garlic and a dry white wine, which adds a rich flavor when added to the white wine sauce.
Dusting the rabbit meat in flour before searing the meat in butter and olive oil, adds a golden finish to the meat and also acts to thicken the wine sauce a little.
- Juniper berries
- Dijon mustard
- White wine
- Cream or Creme Fraiche
- Olive oil
- Broth or water
- Fingerling potatoes
- Mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife – the right tool for the job!
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Cast iron pan with a lid or a Dutch oven – definitely a great affordable investment for many cooking options.
- Stovetop or burner
More Roasted Meals To Love
Absolutely the easiest way to cook many types of meat, is to roast or braise them.
Sharing my favorites with you will, I hope, encourage you to try a variety of types of meat, roasted and even my television acclaimed roasted fish in fig leaves!
- The Sunday Roast – simply toss a few whole chickens, unpeeled roots, lots of Herbs de Provence for the taste of summertime in the cold of winter.
- Fish Roasted In Fig Leaves – the finale dish I prepared on The Great American Recipe with PBS and is a divine recipe for fish lovers!
- Tender Braised and Roasted Lamb Shanks – Fall-off-the-bone Tender Braised and Roasted Lamb Shanks is a Mediterranean recipe, with herbs and ale, you will save for all your favorite shank cuts of meat.
- Mediterranean Beef Shank – roasted and braised in wine and Mediterranean spices, herbs, and root veggies.
Roasted Rabbit With White Wine Sauce
- large cast iron skillet with lid
- Meat thermometer
- 1 Whole Fresh Rabbit
- 2 Shallots cut into long thin slivers
- 2 Garlic cloves rough chopped
- 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp White Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Juniper berries crushed
- 1 tbp Dijon Mustard or to taste
- 3/4 cup White Wine, dry not sweet Vinho Verde is a good choice
- 1/2 cup Cream, Creme Fraiche or sour cream
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil richer in flavor
- 2 cups Broth or water
- 4-5 Sprigs Thyme and fresh rosemary tied with cooking twine
- 2 cups Fingerling Potatoes
- 2 cups Mushrooms
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place the whole rabbit on a cutting board and with a large knife cut the back legs loose from the body, then split the remaining piece down the center, into two pieces and cut the front legs from that section so you are looking at 6-pieces of rabbit.
- In a bowl place the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and toss the rabbit pieces thoroughly so the meat is nicely coated.
- In a large heated cast iron skillet or heavy roasting pan, add the olive oil and butter and stir until the butter is melted. Add the shallots, tied bundle of herbs and stir briskly.
- Layer all the pieces of flour dusted rabbit on top the shallots and sear both sides of the meat quickly, giving attention to loosen the golden brown pieces at the bottom of the pot as you turn the rabbit over.
- When both sides have a little color, pour in the wine, add juniper berries, pepper, remaining salt, mustard and give a little stir to incorporate.Add the broth and cream and stir.Add the mushrooms and potatoes and gently spoon the sauce over the mushrooms and potatoes.Bring to a gentle simmer, cover, turn off and transfer to the preheated oven. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the lid and let it cook another 15-minutes to reduce the liquid a little.The internal temperature should be 160 F.Serve while hot with favorite greens on the side.
- Any remaining liquid in the pan, makes for a great soup base for another day. Simply add more water, some veggies and a little cooked noodles or rice.