Roasted Leg of Rabbit with Bacon and a Mustard Sauce
The rabbit that you use for this dish should be the French-farmed variety. They are tender, large, and succulent. If you find it impossible to obtain one and make do with a smaller variety, then you may have to serve two legs per person. A wild rabbit will not do. If you have an enterprising butcher, then hopefully you can buy just the rabbit legs. If not, then buy two rabbits and use the remaining parts for another dish.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Taste and Texturebuttery, creamy, herby, rich, savory
- 4 rabbit legs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- 20 thin bacon slices
- 1½ cups whipping cream
- 2 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. With a small sharp knife, remove the thigh bone from the rabbit leg by forming a little tunnel around the bone rather than coming through from the side. This is only slightly tricky and just takes a little time and trouble.
Mix together the butter, garlic, tarragon, parsley, lemon, and seasoning. Divide this among the four cavities and wrap each leg with five slices of bacon, then place on a lightly buttered baking tray. Make sure that the ends of each slice meet on the underside.
Roast the legs in the oven for about 10 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a further 10 minutes in a warm place (back in the oven with the door ajar, for instance).
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Simply heat the cream with 1 tbsp of the mustard and a little salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or so until slightly thickened.
To serve, cut three slices from the bulbous end of each leg and, being careful to collect the herby juices, arrange neatly on four plates. Sit the bony part upright alongside the slices. Add the second spoonful of mustard to the sauce, whisk, reheat, and serve separately in a sauce-boat. A dish of plain boiled potatoes and a green salad would be a fitting accompaniment.
1994, 2006 Simon Hopkinson