Dishing Up the Dirt

Mustard Braised Rabbit with Turnips & Arugula Pesto

As we gear up for the Local Thirty (you can read about that hereI’m doing my best to shop from fellow farmers and local producers as much as I can. I’m still working my way through our pantry eating through the things I wont be purchasing for the month of September (coconut oil, tahini, brown sugar, almond butter etc) but I’m having fun researching all the things I CAN find locally. I’m doing a blog post next week about our Sunday adventure into the Willamette Valley were we discovered local olive oil, lemons, hazelnuts, flour, dairy, and more. And thank you to everyone for your amazing comments on the Local Thirty post. Because of you all I’m discovering some gems (olive oil and lemons to name a few!!) that I didn’t know existed within a 200 mile radius of Tumbleweed Farm.

Speaking of discovering new things, this mustard braised rabbit with turnips and arugula pesto is one heck of a recipe. I didn’t grow up eating rabbit (or turnips for that matter) and haven’t cooked it much until this past year when I connected with a fellow farmer at our local farmers market who raises them. My first recipe was a hearty Rabbit Stew that we made last fall and it knocked our socks off. This recipe is a bit lighter (keeping in the spirit of spring) and was absolutely wonderful. We slowly braised the rabbit with plenty of white wine, stock, mustard and herbs. We served it with a simple arugula hazelnut pesto for a tasty springtime meal. I chose hazelnuts for the nut here since we found some locally but feel free to use any other nut of choice–almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, or even cashews.

If you live in the area check out Laura from Horseradish Ranch on Saturday at the market to pick up your rabbit for this recipe. Then swing on by the Tumbleweed booth for your arugula and turnips for the rest of the ingredients. Cheers to the local harvest!

Mustard Braised Rabbit with Turnips & Arugula Pesto

Prep Time: 25 minutes    Cook Time: 90 minutes    Serves: 4

Arugula Hazelnut Pesto
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + additional to thin if needed
Braised Rabbit
  • 1 domestic rabbit (about 2.5 pounds) cut into serving pieces (check out how to do that here)
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4-5 Japanese turnips (small ones left whole, large ones sliced in half)
  • 3/4 cup chicken or rabbit stock
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • hefty pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. Prepare the pesto by combining all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
  2. Salt the rabbit and set it aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a large dutch oven or pot that has a lid over medium high heat. Pat the rabbit dry and then add it to the pan being careful not to overcrowd it (you may have to brown the rabbit in batches). Brown it for about 2 minutes per side. Once the rabbit is browned remove it from the pot.
  4. Add the onion to the pan (if the pan is too dried out add more butter) and brown it well. Add the wine and turn the heat to high. Scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the turnips, stock, mustard, thyme and a pinch of salt. Bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low, add the rabbit pieces, coat them with the sauce, cover the pot and gently simmer for an hour or so. You want the meat to be falling off the bone, it may need a bit more time than an hour but should not take more than 2 hours.
  5. When the meat is ready, gently move the meat and turnips to a platter. Turn the heat to high and boil the sauce down by half. Turn down the heat and add the cream and parsley. Drizzle the meat with the sauce and serve with the pesto and some crusty bread to sop up all the liquid.


*This recipe is adapted from Hank Shaw *Use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Cooking times will vary from kitchen to kitchen

Leave a Reply

3 thoughts on “Mustard Braised Rabbit with Turnips & Arugula Pesto

  1. Lindsay Gott says:

    I can’t wait to try this, I have a rabbit in my freezer from Horseradish Ranch I have been meaning to cook up. Rabbit is so delicious–an under appreciated lean protein source–and perfect with mustard and white wine.

  2. Lori says:

    Does this freeze well? I am trying to preserve foods to use during the winter.

  3. Lori says:

    My question regarding freezing was for the arugula pesto only.

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