Rabbit with Mushrooms and Thyme

From issue #9.
Photography by Nick Tresidder.
Rabbit with Mushrooms and Thyme

This is a traditional French bistro dish that we have enjoyed cooking for years. The recipe comes from a favourite book, Bistro by Patricia Wells. If rabbit is not easily available, chicken is an admirable alternative.

Serves: 4


1 fresh rabbit
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil 2 onions, chopped
150 grams streaky bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
250 grams button mushrooms, sliced
500 ml dry white wine
3 bay leaves
large sprig of thyme
2 chicken livers
2 tablespoons seed mustard
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


Joint the rabbit into six pieces. Tie the 2 saddles with string to prevent them from drying out.

Season the rabbit well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the rabbit and brown gently on all sides. Remove the rabbit to a plate.

Add the onion, bacon and garlic to the pan and sauté until the onion is tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Tip in the wine and allow it to bubble up. Add the rabbit back to the pan along with the bay leaves.

Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rabbit until tender – about 20 minutes. Take care not to overcook or the meat will be dry. Remove the rabbit to a warm dish. Cover lightly and keep warm. Place the chicken livers, mustard, thyme leaves and the breadcrumbs in a food processor and blend until smooth. Stir the mixture into the pan juices and bring to the boil. Taste and season if required. Put the rabbit back in the pan, add the parsley and turn to coat in the sauce.

To serve: Divide the rabbit between serving plates. Serve with some crusty French bread or a potato gratin and a green vegetable. Serves 4