French Culinary Icon: Rabbit in Dijon Mustard Sauce – Mon lapin à la moutarde

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(In English Below)

Peu de plats sont aussi représentatifs de la cuisine traditionnelle de notre beau pays. Le lapin à la moutarde se place en haut du tableau avec le Bourguignon, les escargots, la soupe à l’oignon, les cuisses de grenouille…

J’aime aussi ce plat car il représente “notre douce France”; la France rurale avec ses fermes, ses poulaillers et ses clapiers à lapin (avec la deuche dans la grange bien sur :0)

La recette varie non seulement selon la région, mais aussi et surtout selon les traditions familiales. Nous avons bien là le plat de grand mère par excellence!IMG_2568 _Snapseed

Ma recette est simple et rapide. Vos commentaires sont, comme toujours, les bienvenus.

Pour 4 personnes:

  1. Faites dorer 5 cuisses et avant cuisses de lapin dans une cocotte en fonte avec un peu d’huile. A feu moyen pendant un peu plus de 10 minutes
  2. Sortez la viande et réservez la
  3. Dans la cocotte, placez 1 bel oignon ciselé et faites le revenir à feu doux pendant 2 minutes.
  4. Ajoutez une grosse cuillère à soupe de moutarde de Dijon et mélangez bien
  5. Ajoutez un verre de vin blanc sec, salez et poivrez.
  6. Lorsque le mélange est presque sec, ajoutez un verre de crème fraiche liquide (pas de saleté allégée!!!)
  7. Faites réduire votre sauce jusqu’à obtenir la consistance désirée
  8. Remettre la viande dans la sauce pour la réchauffer
  9. Servez bien chaud sur un lit de pâtes fraiches


Attention: Je n’utilise que les pattes avant du lapin. Le reste de la viande de lapin est trop sèche à mon goût.

Saviez vous que les graines de moutarde ne sont pas forte? C’est leur fermentation dans le vinaigre ou le verjus qui donne son goût et sa force à la moutarde. Les graines utilisées à Dijon sont très fines et noires. 80% d’entre elles sont importées du Canada.

La vraie moutarde de Dijon est faite avec du verjus et non du vinaigre. Il n’y à malheureusement pas d’AOC pour la moutarde de Dijon…18f96a5e29a77066d0e0dca71f2f7c0c _Snapseed

Few dishes are as representative of traditional French cuisine. Rabbit in mustard sauce stands with very few true traditional culinary icons with Beef Bourguignon escargots, onion soup, frog legs, cassoulet and bouillabaisse…

I like this dish because it represents what we call our “Douce France” or sweet France:  rural France with its farms, chicken coops and rabbit hutches and the Citroen 2cv in the barn of course :0)

The recipe varies not only from one region of France to the next, but also with each family tradition. This is a typical grandmother dish!

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My recipe is simple and fast:

For 4 people:

  1. Brown 5 front legs with thighs in a cast iron pot with a little canola oil. On medium heat for a little over 10 minutes
  2. Remove the meat from the pot and keep it on the side 
  3. In the pot, place 1 yellow onion finely chopped and cook it over low heat for 2 minutes.
  4. Add a big tablespoon of Dijon mustard and mix well
  5. Add a glass of dry white wine, salt and black pepper
  6. When the mixture is almost dry, add a glass of heavy cream 
  7. Boil down the sauce until you get the desired consistency
  8. Put the meat back in the sauce to warm it up
  9. Serve hot on a bed of fresh pasta

I only use the front legs of the rabbit. The rest of the meat is too dry for my taste.

Did you know that mustard seeds aren’t strong to the taste? It is their fermentation in vinegar or verjuice that produces a chemical reaction that gives its flavor and that famous mustard strength.

True Dijon mustard is made with sour grapes and not vinegar. That’s where its inimitable taste comes from.

City of Dijon:43e92c4bad54ff2186bb531cf05982cb


  1. Bonjour Stéphane, je suis très heureuse d’ avoir découvert votre blog, qui vraiment, mais vraiment appétissant! Je ne suis pas Française mais le lapin à la moutarde était un classique de ma maman, et j’en suis nostalgique… ça me donne le goût d’en préparer un!

    • Chère Catherine, je suis bien heureux que le blog vous plaise. Mon but est d’encourager les gens à se remettre à la cuisine :) Merci encore!!

  2. You have such an incredible way of showcasing food. I always want to devour your creations! We were raised on rabbit but it never looked that good. :) Momma would roast it in a big pan and it was more dry than not.

  3. First off, I adore that painting in the background with the rabbit and the bald eagle! Second, this recipe sounds wonderful; I don’t get a lot of rabbit here but I think I will try this with some other protein soon, perhaps chicken thighs. Third, I’m really happy to see your jar of Maille dijon mustard because I’m quite the snob about it only using Maille and now I can say that “I know a Frenchman who uses it!”

  4. Wonderful photography and the recipe sounds utterly delicious.
    Rabbits are terrible vermin here in Australia so I can’t possibly feel guilty about eating them. ;) (Unfortunately, their meat is unbelievably expensive.)

  5. Hi Stéphane, I love the simplicity of your recipe and the first photo is simply superb! I often find rabbit dry too, so I’m intrigued by your statement that the front legs are the best part. When I can find fresh rabbit (I don’t want to buy it frozen because then it will be even drier…), it is often just the hind legs. It is often tough as well, which is why I used to braise it for a longer time rather than the 10 mins you mention. Now I always cook it sous-vide, which makes for very tender and juicy rabbit (also the hind legs). Next time I will prepare it with your sauce!

  6. Stephane! Congratulations on the versatile blogger award. Nice job. I think wordpress is acting strange. None of my likes or comments are showing up. You could be editing the comments, but I’m pretty consistent looking at your content. How else will my photography get better? I must see what the master is doing. Hugs.

    • You are sweet my darling Janet! The comments don’t show up because I just don’t have the time to process them right when they come in. So sorry. I hope you keep sending your sweet little notes to me. They never fail to make me smile and feel happy ;) :)

  7. ciao! you captions transport to the douce france. i am thanking your grand mère…somehow these are the absolute most treasured recipes…they tell a story. will be trying it with chicken as well :)

  8. I’m so going to try this! I’m so happy now that we’re settled in our apartment in Béziers, with the Internet! I’ll have to spend days catching up on my favorite blogs, like My French Heaven. So much reading to do, and never disappointed. Thanks for taking so much time to write great posts and the photography is amazing :-)

  9. A classic! I have to admit that I call my cat “mon lapin” and I just can’t… But this is the sauce I use for veal kidneys (go figure, hein?). J’espère que vous me pardonnez avoir fait référence à votre blogue sur le mien. Je retirerai la mention si vous me le demandez. Bonne journée.

    • Thank you so much for the nice compliment! I had fun propping that one… I thought of putting a real bunny on the table but that would have been a step too far ;)

  10. I just found someone at our local market who sells rabbit, so I will try this dish! Thank you for the tip about the front legs–I had no idea about this!

  11. I’m with Johnny, the first photo with the rabbit painting made me smile. Rabbits are a pest in Australia, so I can eat them with a clear conscience, Walt Disney or no. :-)

  12. Yum!! Don’t have much time to cook now as our moving date is this Friday, but this sounds delicious. I think I’d like a good mouse recipe as those little critters like to invade my pantry and, if they can’t eat something, they drop droppings everywhere. But I’m winning the battle. :-) Just got back from happy hour with my s-i-l and had some wonderful Pinot. Would that go with rabbit. :-(


  13. I know rabbit is eaten typically in France and in Spain. I know when I first came to Spain I thought it was weird, funnily I’ve become accustomed now and dont think twice. However I remember mentioning rabbit in paella in my blog and I know many people form overseas got a bit of a shock. Anyway, this recipe must be delicious. And I love your first photo ;)

    • Thanks Sofia! I blame Walt Disney for the fact that most of the world won’t enjoy a good rabbit. I do understand them though. They are quite adorable…

    • I knew you’d like it Johnny. I can tell from the lighting and composition of your pictures that you enjoy this style of photography. I absolutely loved the pictures you took of the plums and pudding you made the other day! ;)

    • You can do the exact same recipe with chicken Julia. It might taste even better! I think bunnies are evil. Just kidding :)

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