A lot of wild meat can be gamey or otherwise tough, so old recipes for dealing with them often involved strong flavors like mustard or alcohol for flavoring or to esterify acids with alcohol and create more complex flavor. In this case, prepared mustard presents a significant source of acid as vinegar, and indeed some recipes call for a combination of white wine vinegar and white wine to assist.
Rabbit is a lean meat containing a high proportion of bone to muscle and which also has significant variety in flavor. Wild rabbits are typically smaller and gamier and the long cooking time helps to tenderize while the maillard reaction and esterification help to develop competing flavors. Potatoes both thicken and add bulk and cream helps develop texture. Rabbit is one of few meats I do not hesitate to add fats to. Google "rabbit starvation" to find out why.
You can do this with chicken too, just perhaps reduce the amount of butter and cream by half. —msmely
2-3 pound (if wild) or 3-4 pound (if farmed) rabbit (800 g - 1.2 kg or 1.5 - 2 kg)
butter (60g or half a stick)
cloves garlic, minced
white wine or vermouth (250 mL)
rabbit or chicken broth (125 mL)
heavy cream (125 mL)
smooth dijon mustard (60 g)
whole grain dijon mustard (15 g)
crushed marjoram leaves
crushed oregano leaves
crushed savory leaves
crushed thyme leaves
small potatoes or potato pieces (1.5")
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a 4 quart (5L) dutch oven or a similarly sized pot, melt butter on medium heat until just beginning to sizzle.
Season rabbit parts with salt and pepper. Add to the pot and brown well on all sides. Remove rabbit pieces from pot.
Add shallots and garlic to hot butter. Stir well and try to scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
When shallots and garlic start to brown, add wine or vermouth and stir well.
Scraping the bottom of the pot the whole time, let mixture boil until slightly thickened and all of the fond is scraped up.
Add broth first, and then cream. Whisk thoroughly and add mustard and herbs. Lower heat to a simmer.
Return rabbit pieces to pot and add potatoes. Stir thoroughly to coat all solids with sauce.
Place pot in the oven uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. If the liquid is reducing too quickly, cover. Remove from the oven when potatoes are cooked and the rabbit meat is tender.
Taste before serving and adjust salt as necessary. Add black pepper to taste if desired.