INGREDIENTS (Serves four)
2 knobs of butter
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Splash of white wine
100ml chicken stock
200ml whipping cream
4 large rabbit legs
8 rashers smoked, streaky bacon
250g French beans, trimmed, blanched and refreshed
2tbs Maille Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt a knob of butter in a stainless steel pan and add the shallots. Cook until soft.
Add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds before pouring in the wine. Bring to the boil and reduce the volume of the wine by half. Then add the stock, and once again boil and reduce the volume of liquid by half.
Pour in the whipping cream, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about five minutes or until the sauce has thickened ever so slightly. Season and set to one side.
Take a nice heavy cast iron dish and heat another knob of butter until it is foaming. Season the rabbit legs with salt and pepper and slip them into the butter.
Cook over a medium heat and turn frequently to brown evenly. If you are worried that your butter will burn, then add an equal quantity of olive oil to the pan when the butter is melting.
Transfer to the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked. Remove them from the oven and keep warm.
At the same time put the bacon rashers on a sheet and bake in the oven until crisp and rest in a warm place.
Reheat the French beans in a pan of boiling water and then toss in a frying pan with a little butter.
Arrange the beans on to four plates. Put a rabbit leg on each pile and garnish with two rashers of crispy bacon each.
Finally, quickly reheat the sauce and whisk in the Dijon mustard. Grey Poupon mustard is ideal for the sauce it has a real kick to it.
It is whisked in at the end and used immediately so that it retains its vibrancy.
Spoon the sauce around the spinach and serve.
Henry Harris, chef-proprietor, Racine, London
With this classic dish, I would keep to a French red wine such as Saumur Champigny from the Loire valley. This 100% Cabernet Franc has the fruit, but also the structure required.
It's not heavy and has an aromatic note which works really well with rabbit and yet has enough cut for the sauce.
Alternatively, serve an old vintage Morgon, one of the best Beaujolais Crus, which has good earthy notes and enough body and texture to go with the dish.
Simone Sylvestre is the 2009 Acorn Scholar and sales manager at Laytons Wine