Monday 18 June 2007

Recipe: Lapin au Moutarde, served with Ginger-glazed Pears

This combination is unexpected, but works well.

For Five.

The Rabbit:

Ingredients: 1 Rabbit, cut into serving pieces (you need quite a mature Rabbit for this dish, with a good amount of meat on it); 2 cloves Garlic; 4 Shallots, halved; 150g Lardons; 3 Onions, thinly sliced; 120g Dijon Mustard; 350 ml White Wine; Bouquet Garni; 2 Egg Yolks; 250 ml Double Cream; pinch of Nutmeg.


1. Pre-heat the Oven to 150 degrees C.

2. In a heavy frying pan, brown the Lardons and remove them to a heavy Casserole. In the fat left from the Lardons, thoroughly brown the Rabbit pieces on all sides - this may take five minutes or so, over high heat (add a little oil or fat if the pieces are beginning to stick). Remove the Rabbit pieces to the Casserole.

3. Add to the frying pan the Garlic, Shallots and Onions. Cook for six to eight minutes, until the vegetables have collapsed and are just starting to colour. Transfer these also to the casserole, then clean out the frying pan with some of the White Wine, bubbling it over high heat and scraping up the cooking residue from the base of the pan. Add this liquid to the casserole, along with 40g of Mustard and the remainder of the Wine (it doesn't matter if the Rabbit pieces are not covered, as long as the casserole is heavy, with a good-fitting lid). Season with Salt & Pepper.

4. Place the casserole, covered, in the pre-heated oven, and cook for two hours. Turn the pieces a couple of times during this period. Once cooked, remove the dish from the oven and let it cool down.

5. Half an hour or so before serving, remove the pieces of Rabbit from the casserole, and strain the cooking liquid. Discard the vegetables and Lardons. Reduce the cooking liquid over high heat until you have about 250 ml. Return the Rabbit to the pan and gently reheat it, covered in the oven, while you make the veloute sauce: mix the Yolks, Nutmeg, and the remaining 80g of Mustard with the cream; add 50 ml of hot cooking liquid, and whisk to blend, then return this to the remainder of the cooking liquid; whisk thoroughly to incorporate, then cook in a double boiler for ten minutes or so, until it thickens to coating consistency.

Serve the re-heated Rabbit Pieces coated with a spoonful of sauce, and half a Ginger-glazed pear.

Glazed Pears:

Ingredients: 3 medium sized Pears, peeled, halved and cored; 2 tablespoons fresh Ginger, peeled and very finely chopped; 50g Sugar; 150 ml White Wine; 250 ml Chicken Stock.


1. Place the peeled Pear halves cut-side down in a buttered baking dish. Heat all the other ingredients together to boil, then spoon this over the Pear halves.

2. Cook for half an hour in an oven pre-heated to 190 degrees C. Spoon the Sauce over the Pears frequently during this time. By the end of the cooking period, the liquid should have reduced to a glaze.

Both the Rabbit and the Pears in this recipe can be cooked and gently re-heated a day or so later. In fact, the Rabbit benefits significantly from being re-heated, and can even be cooked as much as a week before eating, as long as it is well refrigerated for that period, and then returned to room temperature before going back in the oven. The Pears will be fine for a couple of days, but probably not for much longer.

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