Rabbit with Mushroom and Smoked Speck

I love rabbit. It’s a great, cheap alternative to chicken with a delicious, rich and slightly gamey taste all of its own. This recipe is fabulous! A lovely combination of tastes and textures with a wonderful creamy sauce. It looks impressive when plated up too.

1 rabbit (cut into 6 pieces) (about 1.2 kg)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
15g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove peeled and lightly bruised
150g smoked speck (cut into lardons)
250g button mushrooms (cut into quarters)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)

Mix together the rabbit, thyme, tarragon and mustard with a little salt & pepper. Cover and leave to marinade for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to a low 110ºC.

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan over a moderate heat until bubbling. Add the rabbit and stir once. Reduce the heat to very low and cover the pan. Cook the rabbit gently for 20 minutes on one side, then turn over and cook for a further 20 minutes. Take the rabbit out of the pan and place in a bowl covered in foil. Keep warm in the oven.

Bring all the juices in the pan to a simmer, then pour in the chicken stock and simmer gently for 5 minutes until reduced by half. Pour in the cream and simmer again for about 2 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and keep warm in a small saucepan.

Heat a frying pan with the olive oil and garlic over a moderate/low heat and cook the lardons for 4-5 minutes until just crisp. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for 5 minutes – take out the garlic clove and discard. Remove from the heat.

Arrange the rabbit on a warm platter then arrange the mushroom mixture around. Pour over all the sauce then sprinkle with the parsley.

You can eat this on its own with some crusty bread or like I did, with some steamed vegetables and some amazing pomme puree.

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