Rabbit with mustard sauce

Rabbit with Mustard Sauce (Lapin à la Moutarde)

Rabbit with mustard sauce (or Lapin à la Moutarde) is a classical French dish and is surprisingly simple to make. Traditionally found in the French countryside, it’s a really easy stew that doesn’t require many ingredients and will be ready in an hour! It’s a dish that’s not particularly to find on a menu and I’ll admit I’ve never seen it in a bistro in Paris. However it’s very much a rustic classic, cooked up in homes and school canteens across the country. Rabbit pieces are sautéd, braised in a thick, creamy sauce. Read on to discover how to make this French classic!

rabbit mustard sauce casserole

A Rustic French Classic

Rabbit is still very popular in France and you’ll easily find it in even the smallest of supermarkets. It’s a meat that, outside of France, is not particularly common. The meat has a very light gamey flavour and is similar to chicken in texture and taste.

You can buy whole rabbits and either break them down yourself (see this video on how to do it) or ask your butcher to do it for you. In France you can buy ready prepared pieces and then separate the loins from the bone and cut the legs into two pieces. It’s a rustic dish so you don’t have to be too precious with cooking times and butchery. The loins, that are very lean, will still be tender when you braise them for an hour.

rabbit stew

The dish is pretty flexible too and you can play with the ingredients. It’s not an historical dish so there’s no one real ‘authentic’ way of preparing it. Herbs like tarragon can be added to change the flavour and you can use cider in place of white wine.

Finally, don’t worry if you’re not a big fan of mustard, cooking it out really mellows down the flavour! It won’t be hot when you’re finished with your braised rabbit.

What You’ll Need

To make a Rabbit with Mustard sauce, you’ll need:

rabbit mustard sauce ingredients

Rabbit: A mix of rabbit pieces is used for this dish. I use a mix of hind and fore legs where I separate the thighs and the drumstick (just like with a chicken!). I also remove the loin fillets but keep the bone to add extra flavour (I discard this after cooking). Wild rabbits will need around 15 minutes extra cooking.

Mustard: Dijon mustard is used for this dish although you can use whole grain mustard instead (then it becomes Lapin à la Moutarde à l’ancienne). Don’t use American sweet mustard – it won’t work!

Bacon: This is optional but I use a handful of smoked bacon lardons for extra flavour. You can omit this or replace with mushrooms.

Chicken Stock: Home made chicken stock is best for this but it is a simple home cooked dish so a stock cube or store bought stock works fine!

Wine: A dry white wine works best for this dish – it adds more flavour and acidity to the stew. Avoid using red but a splash of brandy would work well.

Aromatics & Herbs: Shallots and finely sliced garlic are used for the base flavour for the stew. You can use white onion if you haven’t got shallots. I use parsley to finish the dish but chives or tarragon work well really too.

Creme Fraîche: Creme fraîche helps to thick up the sauce and adds a beautiful creaminess. You can use double/heavy cream instead.

Roux: To make a roux you’ll need a tablespoon of flour to help thicken the sauce. This is optional depending on how thick you want the sauce.


Makes enough for 2 people.

  • 600g rabbit pieces or 1 whole rabbit broken down into thighs, drumsticks and loin fillets
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Creme Fraîche
  • 100g bacon lardons
  • 50ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leave
  • Parsley, as required

How to Make Rabbit with Mustard Sauce

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c/350f.

  2. Heat up a large sauté pan or casserole on a medium heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil. When shimmering, add your rabbit pieces and brown all over. Once browned, remove from the pan and reserve.

  3. Add the lardons and cook until crispy and the fat has rendered. You should have a nice brown crust (fond) formed on the bottom of the pan.

  4. Drain some of the fat so that you’re left with roughly 1 tablespoon. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté until softened.

  5. Add the flour and cook out for 1-2 minutes.

  6. Deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping off all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

  7. Add the stock, Dijon mustard and creme fraîche and stir to combine.

  8. Add the browned rabbit pieces back along with the thyme and bay leaf.

  9. Place a lid on the pot and put it in the oven for 45 mins. Check that the leg meat is tender – if not, put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

  10. When the meat is cooked, remove the pieces of rabbit (and discard any bones) and keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the sauce until it’s nice and thick.

  11. To serve, place the rabbit pieces on a plate and cover with the sauce. Garnish with finely chopped parsley.

What Do You Serve it With?

Rabbit with mustard sauce can be served with mash potato, rice or pasta – there’s no real traditional accompaniment!

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