Saddle of Rabbit with Buttered Noodles, Carrots, and Mustard Sauce
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Saddle of Rabbit with Buttered Noodles, Carrots, and Mustard Sauce
Chef James Walt of Araxi – Whistler, B.C.
Adapted by
November 2009
Yield: 4 Servings


Vegetable Nage:
5 sliced carrots
8 sliced shallots
4 stalks sliced celery
3 cloves sliced garlic
2 sliced onions
4 whole star anise
1 large bulb sliced fennel  
3 bay leaves
8 coriander seeds
2 quarts water
1 cup white wine

Mustard Sauce:
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
4 sliced shallots
1 clove sliced garlic
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup port
1½ pints veal demi-glace

Saddle of Rabbit:
2 10- to 12-ounce saddles of rabbit, de-boned
8 baby carrots, blanched
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, leaves only
12 thin pancetta or bacon slices

Carrot Purée:
3½ pounds peeled carrots
½ teaspoon mild curry powder
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Buttered Noodles:
9 ounces fresh pasta (preferably fettuccine)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Assemble and Serve:
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil


For the Nage:
In a large stockpot, combine all of the ingredients except the wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the white wine, and refrigerate for 45 minutes or until chilled. Strain the nage through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl, discarding any solids. (This will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks.)

For the Mustard Sauce:
Heat the grapeseed oil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until softened and lightly colored, about 3 minutes. Add the grainy and Dijon mustards and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the port and allow it to reduce almost to the consistency of a syrup, about 4 minutes. Add the veal demi-glace and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 6 minutes. (This will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)

For the Saddle of Rabbit:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Trim and discard any excess fat from the rabbit. Using a sharp knife, scrape the belly flaps, trimming them so they are even. Gently score the flaps in a cross-hatch pattern. On each saddle, pull off the small tenderloin piece that is at the wide end and place it beside the thin end of the loin to even out the cooking time.

Arrange 4 carrots between the two loins of each saddle and season them with salt, pepper, and lemon thyme leaves. Roll each loin up into a roll and cut each roll in half. On a clean work surface, arrange 3 strips of the pancetta lengthwise with the sides barely touching, but not overlapping. At the end closest to you, put a portion of the rolled rabbit across the pancetta strips and tightly roll the pancetta around the rabbit. Repeat with the remaining pancetta and rabbit rolls.

Cut 4 pieces of plastic wrap, each 5 x 8 inches. Set the sheets of plastic wrap on the work surface and place a rabbit roll in the middle of each one. Fold the bottom half of the plastic wrap over the roll, then tightly roll the rabbit in the plastic wrap to form a log shape. Cut 4 pieces of aluminum foil and wrap each of the plastic-wrapped rabbit rolls in a sheet of foil. Place the foil packages in the oven and cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 155°F. Allow the rolls to rest, unwrapped, for 5 minutes or until serving.

For the Carrot Puree:
Cut the carrots in half widthwise. Cut the top, thicker parts into chunks and, following manufacturer’s instructions, juice these chunks to get approximately 1 pint of carrot juice. Slice the thinner half of the halved carrots into rounds and put in a small saucepan. Cover the carrots with the carrot juice and add the curry powder, cooking on medium heat until the carrots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Drain the carrot juice into a small bowl and transfer the cooked carrots to a food processor or a blender. Purée the carrots, adding only enough of the juice to obtain a smooth consistency. Mix in the butter, season lightly with salt and set aside.

For the Buttered Noodles:
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil on high heat, seasoning with salt as it comes to a boil. Meanwhile, heat ½ cup of the vegetable nage in a separate saucepan on medium heat. Drop the fettuccine into the water, stir it once and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the nage. Stir in the butter and lightly season the noodles with salt.

To Assemble and Serve:
Unwrap the rabbit, discarding the foil and plastic wrap. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, add the rabbit and sear for 2 minutes to crisp the pancetta. Transfer the rabbit to a plate, pour off any excess oil in the pan and add 1 cup of the mustard sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce until it is warmed through.
Slice each rabbit roll into 3 pieces. Spin a quarter of the noodles on a carving fork and place them on a plate. Repeat with the remaining 3 plates. Spoon a quarter of the carrot purée beside the noodles. Top each plate with 3 slices of rabbit and spoonfuls of the mustard sauce.