Rabbit, Mushroom and Tarragon Stew: Tempting Fate?

Rabbit with Tarragon, Mushroom and Dijon Cream Sauce

So, it might be tempting fate, but an unusually warm spell of late in New York has had me craving cooler, more autumnal weather. I bought a scarf and gloves that I’ve been unable to wear unless standing in front of an open fridge, which has annoyed my wife and caused our apartment to smell of blue cheese.

So in an effort to usher in more normal weather we made a creamy rabbit stew. But you don’t need to be craving a crisp fall morning to enjoy this dish. You could just be tired and in need of some TLC.

Forget the all-in-one massage chair with natural-feeling temple flexion-pads and built-in footspa, and the crack-team of velvet finger-tipped Chinese feng-shui massage therapists, this rabbit, mushroom and tarragon stew is so soothing we’re considering bottling it and selling it at CVS (or any other cheap store of your choice). It’ll not only soothe the turmoil in your mind and body, but it’ll almost certainly relax you and help you off to a restful 9-hour sleep (or at least it did for us).

Rabbit with Tarragon, Mushroom and Dijon Cream Sauce

Here’s how to do it:


What you need:

  • 3 rashes of bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 box of button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 whole rabbit, cut into pieces
  • 3 sprigs of tarragon – 2 with tarragon leaves removed and chopped and 1 left whole, bruised by back of a chef’s knife
  • 2 1/2 cups of white wine
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup light cream

What to do:

  1. Heat heavy-bottomed pan/pot to medium-high and cook bacon pieces until almost crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Pour bacon fat into a bowl and, starting with one tablespoon, add the fat back to the pot. Cook onion, garlic and mushroom in the bacon fat until medium-soft (about 5-6 minutes). Remove and set aside in the bowl with the bacon.
  3. Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. Add a bit more bacon fat (or butter if you’d prefer) back to the heavy-bottomed pan and add your rabbit pieces. Sear the outside on all sides of each piece until they are nice and golden brown (about 6 to 8 minutes). Remove to a plate for a moment.
  4. I know, I know… lots of removing of food from the pan. They’ll be back soon. Deglaze the bottom of your pan with wine – keep heat up to medium and scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan. After about a minute or so, add your chicken stock, tarragon, bruised tarragon sprig and mustard. Stir.
  5. Now, add back everything – rabbit, mushrooms, bacon, onions, garlic, etc. – to the pan. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium/medium-low and simmer, covered for 30 minutes. After that, continue to simmer the dish uncovered for another 20 to 30 minutes. It will cook down to a thicker sauce.
  6. Finish by stirring in the cream and fishing out the loose tarragon sprig. Enjoy!

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39 thoughts on “Rabbit, Mushroom and Tarragon Stew: Tempting Fate?

  1. I love stews! I have never tried rabbit stew though, this does look and sound tempting. Tempting enough for me to want to try this out sometime, except I used to keep a beautiful pet rabbit that lived to a ripe old age of 7 years….;-) Nice looking dish nonethelesss.

  2. welcome, soul chocolate (love your name, btw!). You’ve gotta give rabbit a try. In fact, if it makes you feel better, my husband had two bunnies growing up (his only pet… he looks at them the way i looked at my dog, buttercup, growing up). You should check out our podcast from the first time we made rabbit. He talks about this exact issue: http://www.weareneverfull.com/eating-the-easter-bunny-and-our-first-podcast/

    You should try, try, try it. Noble pig: I double dog dare you!!! Don’t think of the bunny ears!!! Do you think of bambi when you eat (if you eat?) venison? do you think of those sweet little doe-eyed baby cows when you eat (if you eat?) veal? give it a try some time. as they say, “it tastes like chicken” (it doesn’t). but, you could always make this with chicken!

    And Coco – i look forward to your rabbit recipe – i believe you mentioned wanting to make it when we did rabbit awhile back. 2008 is your year, baby!

  3. What smelled like blue cheese?
    The fridge or the scarf?

    Rabbit stew looks delish. It’s not easy to find rabbit in NJ, I guess I will have to catch one in my backyard in New Jersey! (kidding).

  4. yes, hasn’t the weather been bizarre? every morning I put on my fleece and end up sweaty and hot!
    Where do you find rabbit in the city? I’d love to make this.

  5. Hey, send me over a couple of cans… you convinced me! It looks awesome and I trust you concerning the taste and flavour :D.

    Here in Barcelona we are back to summer days too, sooooo hot! We had a cold September and a hot October… I’ll wait a few days to try your rabbit stew ;D

  6. Stacey – everything ended up smelling like blue cheese – me, Amy, apartment, scarf, gloves, etc. – which depending on the company you keep can make a big difference to your popularity.

    Stacey/Maggie – there are more rabbits than you think in the city – we just set up some snares in our local park and just waited a couple of days… not really. We bought them at a butchers in Brooklyn Heights (staubitz market), but i’m sure you can find them at most good butchers and almost certainly at the essex street market on the LES.

    Nuria – we had the same weather here in NYC. weird. i keep thinking it’s going to get cold and then it doesn’t. global climate change, i guess.

  7. You know, I have never had rabbit. I am somehow a little intimidated. I don’t know why. I eat everything under the sea raw at a sushi bar! But the preparation you mention…. ohhh myyyyy! I luuuuvvvvveeee taragon! And cream…

  8. Oh, this looks glorious! And I’m always looking for new ways with rabbit. I normally create a ragu with wild mushrooms, but this looks TOO tempting.

  9. That looks so utterly delicious, and I do adore tarragon…but I balk a bit at the rabbit. I’ve never eaten it and I don’t know if I can!!
    Then again, the little bastards in the backyard ate all of my basil this year. Quite greedy, if you ask me. I think they have it coming to them….and considering how many of my herbs they feasted on, they’d probably add a nice pesto element to the dish!!

  10. J & A, this reminds alot of a coq au vin, very French with tarragon and the moutarde gives some nice tartness and bottom to the dish.

    Also, I do heart bunny!

  11. God, this looks terrific! Bacon… Tarragon Mustard Cream Sauce… Rabbit… Mushrooms… what’s not to love. Believe it or not, though, I’ve already had rabbit twice this week. “tis the season.

  12. I love rabbit but have to confess that I’ve never actually cooked it. This looks like a great place to start – I wish I had a plateful of this right now. Delicious!

  13. The only time I ever cooked rabbit it was disgusting – but I saw some really nice rabbit at the butcher this morning so I think it is time to have another go. And this looks like a perfect way to do it!

  14. I like the story with the fridge and the blue cheese! We are just north of you, in Ontario. Our warm spell is over and the frost is on the pumpkin.
    I have never tried rabbit – I might do chicken thighs instead, only because I am a wimp. The flavours look amazing though.

  15. Hah! Somehow I really doubt that you parade in front of the fridge with your dream wardrobe… Think of the environment! Hee hee.
    We don’t get rabbit in this country, but first chance I get, I’m ordering one. It hasn’t appeared in a restaurant I’ve eaten in abroad, though 🙂

  16. OK, first of all the dish looks excellent. I have never cooked it before but love eating it and may give this a shot. I had to chuckle at your post as I have wanted the autumnal weather and recently moving to the SF Bay Area it has been hot. Except for one night, I got back from DC and it was raining. All excited I ran off the next morning for Cassoulet fixings and cooked it up that night in 80 degree weather!


  17. hey marc! we got them at Staubitz market in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Read the first post linked at the bottom of the post to read about the cost, though. Ain’t cheap! You should be able to call any butcher and get rabbit (esp. in the city). Supposedly you can get them dirt cheap in Queens.

  18. Merci!!! The family of my boyfriend (they’re french) absolutely loved it! thank you so much for this delicious recipe :).

    1. @Anna Irena: thanks so much for the lovely feedback. We’re delighted your future in-laws liked it so much! That’s what we’re like at WANF. We’re all about bringing people together, making babies, and spreading love.

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