Rabbit with Lemon Dumplings

Diana Henry slow-cooks rabbit joints wrapped in bacon and serves them with little lemon and watercress dumplings
By Diana Henry
Rabbit with Lemon Dumplings
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 1.2 kg rabbit joints, (8 pieces)
  • olive oil
  • 8 slices streaky bacon, rind removed
  • 1 1/2 onions, sliced into crescent moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 250 ml dry white wine

For the dumplings

  • 1/2 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 40 g butter
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 80 g watercress, coarse stalks removed
  • 80 g white breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1 large egg


1. Rub the rabbit joints with a little olive oil, season and wrap a piece of bacon round each one. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and colour the wrapped joints on all sides for about 2-3 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a shallow, ovenproof pan and cook the onions until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Season.

3. Sit the rabbit joints on top of the onions and drizzle a little oil over the top. Add the sprigs of thyme, pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. For the dumplings Gently fry the onion and garlic in the butter until softened. Put this in a bowl and add the rest of the dumpling ingredients. Season well.

5. Bring the mixture together and form about 12 little golf-ball sized dumplings out of it. It will be rather loose but just persevere.

6. After the rabbit has cooked for 30 minutes, tuck the dumplings in around the joints. Simmer for another 40-50 minutes.

7. Serve the rabbit in the dish in which it was cooked, with a few little boiled potatoes and some purple sprouting broccoli or spinach.

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