Cider-braised rabbit with Puy lentils

The sweetness of apples is the ideal match for Maria Elias rabbit dish, a very British take on a French-style casserole
By Maria Elia
Cider-braised rabbit with Puy lentils
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 40 g pancetta, or streaky bacon
  • 1 wild rabbit, skinned and jointed into eight pieces
  • 30 g plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp thyme, leaves
  • 8 sage, leaves
  • 500 ml cider
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 200 g Puy lentils
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp coarse grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

To serve

  • roasted apples, rings
  • buttered cabbage


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 3.

2. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta or bacon for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Transfer the mixture to a lidded casserole dish.

3. Return the now-empty frying pan to the heat with the remaining oil. Dust the rabbit pieces in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, and fry for 2-3 minutes on all sides or until golden-brown all over. Transfer the rabbit pieces to the casserole dish.

4. Add the cider to the frying pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Pour the mixture into the casserole with the rabbit.

5. Add the chicken stock, sage leaves and thyme to the casserole, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cover with the lid. Cook over a low heat for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

6. Gently stir the lentils into the casserole, adding more stock or water to cover if necessary. Replace the lid and cook for a further 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

7. Stir in the mustard, crème fraiche and parsley before serving with the roasted apple rings and buttered cabbage.

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