Rabbit Sous-Vide with Mustard Sauce (Lapin à la Dijonnaise)

Stéphane from My French Heaven always has wonderful photos on his blog and recipes that are as simple as they are tasty. His recent post about his version of the French classic rabbit in mustard sauce was all the inspiration I needed to make my own sous-vide version.

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Rabbit is very healthy meat: high in proteins and low in fat. The problem with rabbit however is that it is often either dry (because it was cooked too long and doesn’t have enough fat to compensate) or tough (because it was cooked too short). Stéphane solves this by using only the front legs of the rabbit, which are not as tough, but around here front legs are not available separately.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you can guess what comes next: sous-vide cooking of course! With sous-vide, the rabbit can be tender and juicy at the same time. And so I cooked rabbit sous-vide and then used Stéphane’s recipe for the mustard sauce. It was no surprise that it came out great!

There is one caveat when cooking rabbit sous-vide: the loins need a lower cooking temperature than the legs. So if you cooked everything at 60C/140F like I did, the loins will end up too tender. The solution is easy: just use the legs.

Ingredients

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For 4 servings

4 rabbit hind legs

120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine

120 ml (1/2 cup) crème fraîche

2 Tbsp butter, preferably clarified

1 heaped tablespoon dijon mustard

1 small onion, minced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

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Season the rabbit with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Vacuum seal and cook sous-vide for 2 hours at 60C/140F.

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Remove the rabbit from the sous-vide cooker. Discard any juices and pat the rabbit dry with paper towels.

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Melt the butter and brown the rabbit over high heat. It is best to use clarified butter for this, as regular butter may burn.

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Take the rabbit out of the pan. Sauté the onion in the remaining fat over medium heat until it becomes translucent.

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Add the mustard…

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…and the white wine…

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…and the crème fraîche.

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Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce has a nice consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Return the rabbit pieces to the pan. Toss them in the sauce until they are coated with the sauce on all sides and are heated through.

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Serve on warm plates with vegetables like roasted asparagus.

Wine pairing

This calls for a white wine, and as this is a French dish from Burgundy it makes sense to serve it with a white Burgundy. A buttery white such as Meursault or Chassagne-Montrachet is best, because of the cream in the sauce. Another dry buttery chardonnay should work as well, but it shouldn’t be an over the top extravaganza of tropical fruit.

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14 thoughts on “Rabbit Sous-Vide with Mustard Sauce (Lapin à la Dijonnaise)

  1. Oh my, such lovely flavors! The combination of the wine, mustard and Dijon is beautiful combination of flavors. I am sure that the rabbit was perfectly browned from the use of clarified butter and moist from the initial sous-vide cooking method. If I had a sous-vide machine and a market that sold rabbit, I would make this tonight for dinner. So impressive and scrumptious in description and appearance!

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      1. HA. I love it – though no Santa in our house. It’s Hanukah Harry around here. 🙂 I worked part-time in a restaurant kitchen when I was just out of college, and the sous-vide machine was so much fun. Yes, amazing moistness and flavor development….

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  2. classique & popular all over France… your version seems yummy, too! 🙂 I haven’t eaten it for years, but in my Toulouse région Duck is the king/queen… 🙂 you may have tasted the famous cassoulet, foie-gras and confit de canard… 🙂
    – – –
    have a great weekend and sunny greetings, bon appétit & cheers! Mélanie

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  3. Rabbit was depression food in Australia! We had plagues of the blighters! My Dad used to go rabbiting on weekends when I was a kid to supplement the household protein supplies. Mum could have used your sous vide equipment on a weekly basis, as it was always touch and go as to whether the rabbit for dinner would be moist or dry and unfortunately it was usually the latter. I wish I could reproduce your rabbit recipe with confidence but I’m not so sure!!

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    1. Without sous-vide you may be able to simmer the rabbit in a casserole in the oven at 70C/160F, but I haven’t tried that myself. The age of the rabbits your father caught may have something to do with their moistness.

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  4. This sounds like a great way to prepare rabbit, Stefan. We prepare it in a stove-top braise and it can be dry if not properly tended. I can see where sous-vide cooking would be advantageous and give you a moist dish. The mustard sauce sounds wonderful, too.

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    1. Thanks, John. I all but stopped preparing rabbit because it usually turned out either dry or tough. Even when following Biba’s recipes to the letter. Now with sous-vide I prepare it quite often.

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  5. Very nice! You are making me sooooo hungry for it. However, I opted for veal, sage and home made mashed potatoes for my Sunday lunch 😉 I need to try the sous vide technique sometime. It sounds very interesting!!!

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  6. Very interesting indeed Stefan. The wine paring is pretty excellent. I find it difficult to get a decent buttery Chardonnay here in Ireland. Perhaps I have not looked hard enough.

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