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Close up of French rabbit in mustard sauce with pearl onions and mushrooms on a bed of rice.

French Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

Elegant and delicious.
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 341kcal



  • 2-3 lb rabbit leg and loin meat cubed and carcass reserved
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil


  • 1 rabbit carcass
  • 1 chicken carcass (alternatively have 1/2 liter (2 cups)of good chicken stock on hand to blend with rabbit stock for the sauce)
  • 4 cups water approx. 1 liter
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped in 1" pieces
  • 1 leek white part only, sliced horizontally
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 bouquet garni To make bouquet garni: 1/4 cup dried parsley, 2 dried bay leaves and 2 Tbsps dried thyme tied up securely in a cheese cloth bundle
  • 3 whole cloves

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

  • 10 oz button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter divided 1 + 1
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 8 o z white pearl onions (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tsps sugar


  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsps flour
  • 4 cups rabbit/chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsps Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon chopped
  • 2 Tbsps 35% cream
  • parsley for garnish


  • Detail the rabbit cutting meat from the legs and loin portions into 1" chunks. Set meat aside.


  • Add the rabbit carcass and the chicken carcass (if using) to a large pot. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  • Cut the onion in half and tack the cloves into the onion pieces. Set aside. Add the onion, vegetables and spices to the pot with the carcasses. Cover and simmer 45 minutes.
  • After 45 minutes strain the solids out of the stock.
    Note: You want to end up with 4 cups of stock so if you made a blend of chicken/rabbit stock measure out 4 cups. If you are using pre-made chicken broth then measure out 2 cups of the rabbit stock and add 2 cups of premade chicken stock to make up the 4 cups.
  • Allow the stock to cool. If making the day before refrigerate overnight.

Precook the Rabbit Meat

  • Heat 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil in a dutch oven. Season the rabbit meat with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and brown the rabbit meat on all sides. Set aside.
  • You can prepared the stock and pre-cook the rabbit meat the day before and refrigerate overnight if you like.

Prepare the Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

  • Clean and trim the stem ends off the mushrooms. Leave them whole. Add the mushrooms to a sauce pan in one layer and just barely cover with water. Add 1 Tbsp butter and lemon juice to the pan. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mushrooms steep in the pan liquid.
  • Peel and trim the pearl onions, leaving them whole. Add pearl onions to another sauce pan and just barely cover with water. Add 1 Tbsp of butter and 2 tsps sugar. Cook over low heat until all the water has evaporated. This took about 40 minutes in my saucepan. Timing will vary based on the size of your pan. Watch carefully toward the end since the onions will be caramelizing in the sugar and can burn after the moisture evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook the Rabbit in the Sauce

  • Slice the yellow onion finely in the pot you precooked the rabbit in. (If you prepared that the day before you will need to heat 1 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp oil in the pan before adding the onion.)
  • Allow the onion to cook about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 Tbsps flour. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the 4 cups of combined rabbit/chicken stock. Bring to a boil and oil uncovered until liquid reduces to about 2 1/4 cups.
  • Add the pre-cooked rabbit meat, cover and allow it to cook on very low heat for 45 minutes. Do not exceed 60 minutes cook time or rabbit will become tough and dry.
  • After 45 minutes remove the rabbit meat. Add 2 Tbsps Dijon mustard and the tarragon to the sauce. Add 2 Tbsps heavy cream and heat through. If the mixture is too thin, dissolve another Tablespoon of flour in some of the hot mixture. Stir to ensure there are no lumps and mix it back in to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick add more cream. When you have achieved the desired thickness for the sauce add the rabbit back into the sauce. Drain the mushrooms and add to the sauce along with the pearl onions.
  • Serve rabbit over broad egg noodles, rice or with boiled potatoes. Garnish with parsley if desired.


Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 1626mg | Potassium: 990mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 681IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 8mg