Sunday, 27 February 2011

Rabbit braised in cider and English mustard, with tarragon dumplings

It's a great feeling when you unexpectedly find something you forgot you had. Like the proverbial tenner in the pocket of a coat you'd not worn for a while, or something you'd lost down the back of the sofa without realising it was gone.

I got exactly the same feeling the other day whilst rooting around in the freezer for some ice for my pink vino (heathen that I am) when I discovered a packet of diced rabbit purchased from The Wild Meat Company. 

Perfect Sunday blog-fodder I thought, but what to make with it?

The lovely ladies at Salad Club pointed me to their blog and a tasty looking crispy rabbit dish, but being without goose fat and as my pieces are boneless this will have to be a dish for another occasion.

Opening the condiment cupboard for the beginnings of an idea I spied the Colemans English mustard, perfect I thought to give me a bit of warmth without the use of chili (which I'm trying to avoid at the moment), and that's where the idea for this little dish started. 

I guess the recipe has a real olde-English vibe about it, makes me think I should be eating it in some quaint pub in deepest darkest Cornwall, accompanied by a pint of cider. This setting is of course, not essential.

Anyway, enough of all that and on to the dish.

Dinner for two:
400g diced, boneless rabbit
500mls traditional cider - I used a Westons vintage cider which is nice and sweet (and highly alcoholic, not that it matters with cooking)
3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 medium red onion, finely diced
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon or smoked pancetta
4 heaped teaspoons English mustard
Sea salt and pepper
Unsalted butter
Groundnut oil
A cup of plain flour
A little cornflour, made up and ready to use
A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
A handful fresh tarragon, finely chopped
50g suet (I find the reduced fat suet just as good as the full fat)
100g self raising flour

- In a saucepan or casserole pot with a dish, snip the pancetta into some foaming unsalted butter and a dash of groundnut oil for about 5 minutes until it starts to brown, then add the onion and carrot and cook for a further 10
- Toss the diced rabbit in seasoned plain flour so it's lightly dusted all over, then add it to the pot and cook until it begins to brown also 
- Add the mustard to the pot and mix through until it's combined with all the ingredients, then pour in the cider and mix again
- Put onto a low heat and cook for about 2 hours stirring throughout to make sure it doesn't catch. When you can gently press the back of a spoon against the meat and it breaks a little it's ready
- Half an hour before the cooking time ends add a little made up cornflour to the pot to make sure its the thickness you want
- Combine the herbs, suet, self raisin flour and a generous dose of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and add a little water at a time until you have a firm dough, then break the dough into small dumplings (I got 8 out of this mix) and 20 minutes before the end pop it onto the top of the blipping rabbit and clamp the lid on.
- 20 minutes later you're ready to eat, simply serve it at the table and help yourselves. Cider unsurprisingly goes very well with it.


  1. These dumplings look amazing - so soft and fluffy in the middle.

  2. Yeah they're super fluffy and the herbs almost steam inside them, makes them really aromatic x

  3. Mmmm... dumplings do look fab. I'm going to try some fresh herbs in mine the next time I make them. x

  4. They take on the herbs really well I think you'll like it Holly. Try finely snipping some smoked streaky bacon or pancetta into them too, works really well and gives them a subtle smokiness x

  5. Sounds awesome! I'm not familiar of the dish though. :D

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  6. I am absolutely going to try this - I am not a great dumpling fan but in this I think they would be ok !! Thanks & great photos x

  7. Hey there March 17th

    Thanks for your comment! The dumplings really are excellent, once you get into herbing them up I think you can't help but like them!

    Let me know how you get on x x x