Indulge in the savory and rich flavors of traditional French cuisine with this rabbit rillettes recipe. Slow-cooked to perfection, the tender meat is combined with aromatic herbs and spices, resulting in a smooth and decadent spread. Perfect as an appetizer or snack, serve with toasted bread or crackers for a taste of classic French gastronomy.
French rabbit rilettes
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Terrine mould in the size and capacity of your choice, or small cast-iron Dutch oven
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 5¼ oz 150 g smoked bacon
- Scant 1/3 cup 70 ml olive oil
- 9 lb 4kg rabbit, preferably Rex du Poitou,
- skinned and cut into 8 pieces
- 3 tbsp 1¾ oz/50 g wholegrain mustard
- 1½ cups 350 ml Sauvignon Blanc
- About 4 cups 1 litre white chicken stock
- ½ calf’s foot
- 2 sprigs thyme + 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp finely chopped chervil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 slices toasted country bread
- 2 oz 50 g lightly dressed mesclun greens
Preparing the rabbit rillettes
- Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C/Gas Mark 3).
- Peel and quarter the carrot. Peel and finely chop the onion. Cut the bacon into lardons.
- Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat and, when hot, brown the rabbit pieces all over. Add the carrot, onion, and lardons, reduce the heat, and cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the mustard and cook until lightly browned. Deglaze with the wine and reduce by a third. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the meats and vegetables and bring to a boil. Add the calf’s foot, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and cook in the oven for 1½ hours.
- Carefully transfer the rabbit pieces to a plate and discard the aromatics and calf’s foot. Strain the pan juices through the fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and skim the fat off the surface (see Chef’s Note). Taste, reduce the juices further if necessary, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Remove the rabbit meat from the bones, then shred it twice making sure all of the small bones have been removed. Place in a bowl and stir in the parsley, chervil, and tarragon until well mixed. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Spoon the rillettes into the terrine and cover with the pan juices. Cover and let set in the refrigerator for 24–36 hours.
- Serve on toasted country bread, topped with lightly dressed mesclun greens.
it off using a spoon.
First printed in our sister publication France Today.
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