Rabbit with Mustard and Tarragon; or, a Recipe for a Dinner Party
I’ve heard that it’s never a good idea to try a new recipe for guests, because if it doesn’t come out as planned, you’re stuck with a subpar meal (or worst case, no meal at all). This has never stopped me from trotting out new recipes for dinner parties at nearly every opportunity. As my boyfriend says, “If it’s inedible, there’s always pizza delivery!”
Of course, part of the art of choosing new recipes to prepare is trusting the source. For example, a new recipe from Patricia Wells will never let you down. The woman’s a cooking instructor in France—she’s taught students for decades how to replicate these recipes. So, when the above-mentioned boyfriend declared he was making Wells’ Rabbit with Mustard and Tarragon for a dinner party he hosted Friday evening, the only response I had for him was, “Great! I’ll bring dessert.”
The rabbit recipe was not just new to us, but was new to the world, too: it’s making its first public appearance tomorrow, as part of Well’s new The French Kitchen Cookbook. One of the perks of marketing cookbooks is being able to test-drive the cookbooks before they are available in stores.
This rabbit recipe is not a bad choice for a dinner party. The rabbit had to be special ordered from the butcher, but that was done easily enough. Although our cook had to withdraw from us for about half an hour to prepare the meal, he saved himself a lot of time by prepping all the ingredients before the guests arrived. Also, he has an open kitchen so he was able to lob a quip or two at us in between the searing, simmering and boiling.
When we sat down to eat, we were treated to a fragrant, flavorful meal. The rabbit was wrapped in pancetta, and seared. Then it was simmered in a sauce made of white wine, mustard and fresh tarragon. This same sauce is what dressed the tagliatelle, which was lovingly piled next to my saddle of rabbit. I am no great fan of mustard myself, but the combination of mustard, white wine and tarragon is both tangy, sweet and creamy.
I would recommend not only this recipe, but the whole of The French Kitchen Cookbook. The book will provide you with hours of excellent reading and inspiration – and, once this cookbook is on your shelf, you’ll have a book full of fail-proof, delicious and elegant recipes ready to be trotted out for their premier in your kitchen at any dinner party.