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French roast rabbit with Italian sausage and mustard crust

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French rabbit with Italian sausage

I’ve had a frozen rabbit in my freezer for a long time. It somehow got blocked by other frozen meats, so for a while I forgot that I even had it. Finally, on a freezer clean-up day, I find a pleasant surprise at the very back of the bottom shelf of my freezer: a frozen rabbit. I knew right away how I wanted to cook it because I’ve bookmarked a wonderful recipe from Jackques Pepin’s cookbook of a classic French rabbit. Who, if not Chez Jacques, knows the best classic French rabbit recipe?

Rabbit meat is very lean, which in this recipe is compensated by the addition of Italian sausage. Mustard crust adds the crunch and necessary carbs to this dish. If you’ve never cooked a rabbit, this is an easy fool-proof recipe to get it done right the first time. You just can’t go wrong with rabbit meat, Italian sausage, and mustard bread crust. It’s a great recipe that produces a very French dish: simple and sophisticated at the same time.

By the way, this is my last post as part of November 2012 NaBloPoMo. I have posted something every single day since November 1, and this French rabbit marks my final November 2012 NaBloPoMo related post. I am glad that I was able to keep this commitment to myself, and that I have not missed a single day. It certainly required discipline and time management. In December, I’ll be posting at a more relaxed pace: about one recipe every 2 or 3 days.

French roast rabbit with Italian sausage


Roast Rabbit with Italian sausage and mustard crust

This recipe is adapted from Jacques Pepin’s cookbook “Chez Jacques”.

Prep time: 30 min
Bake time: 1 hr 15 min


  • 1 whole rabbit
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 French bread loaf, processed into bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • salt
  • a bunch fresh or cooked spinach (to your taste and liking)

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) Cut rabbit in 5 or 6 large pieces: rabbit’s front and back legs, the rib cage.

3) Heat olive oil and butter in a large oven-proof skillet. Salt the rabbit pieces and cook them on high heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes, turning once, so that both sides are browned. Remove from heat and remove the rabbit from the skillet to the plate.

4) In the mean time, cut the sausage sack and release sausage meat, forming about 8 separate pieces of sausage.

5) Chop the onions into sizable (but not too large) pieces. Place most of the onions and half the sausage in the skillet in which you previously cooked rabbit. Put rabbit pieces back on top of the onions and the sausage. Arrange the remaining onion and sausage in between rabbit pieces, but not on top of rabbit.

6) Mix bread crumbs with 3 tablespoons olive oil, chopped green onions. Add salt to taste. Brush the top of rabbit pieces with Dijon mustard, top with bread crumb mixture, pressing it into the rabbit pieces to stick.

7) Place the dish into the oven and roast the rabbit in the oven for 30 minutes.

To serve:

Place a handful of fresh or cooked spinach on each serving plate. Top spinach with juices, onions, and the sausage mixture from under the rabbit pieces. Top with a single rabbit piece.

Here are the photos illustrating major cooking steps:

rabbit meat

Raw rabbit meat sizzling in a skillet

Italian sausage

Italian sausage

browing Rabbit on both sides

Browning rabbit on both sides


After cooking rabbit pieces for 20 minutes, turning once, rabbit is browned

Rabbit with mustard on top

Rabbit with mustard rubbed on top

Rabbit with bread crumbs

Brushing the top of rabbit pieces with bread crumbs, olive oil and green onions mixture

Rabbit with bread crumbs

Pressing bread crumbs mixture on the top of rabbit pieces before placing rabbit dish in the oven for roasting




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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Nancy /SpicieFoodie December 3, 2012, 1:50 pm

    My husband would absolutely love this recipe. Thanks for sharing:)

    • Julia December 5, 2012, 1:55 pm

      It’s easy, yummy and pretty – absolute winner!

  • Denise Browning December 8, 2012, 9:41 am

    Julia, dear! I am drooling…This roasted rabbit looks divine. You made me hungry. xx

    • Julia December 9, 2012, 2:20 pm

      Thank you! The rabbit meat was pretty good: lean and almost diet-friendly.

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