Cider Rabbit Compote with Apple Sauce

Game compote is similar to rillete but it is not cooked in goose or pork fat, instead the meat is stewed until it fulls off the bone.

6-8 Portions
Prep: 20 minutes, begin 3 days before serving
Cook: 4 hours and 30 minutes


  • 1 medium to large rabbit, cut into 6-8 pieces


  • 500ml cider
  • 200ml cold pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised with the side of the knife
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 100g carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf

To Cook

  • 2 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 150g rindless streaky bacon, diced
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp mild mustard
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

Apple Sauce

  • 300g eating apple, peeled and diced into 2 cm piece
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 large red chilli
  • 50 ml water or cider

To Serve:

  • watercress (optional)


  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the rabbit in the marinade, coat well, cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
  2. Strain the rabbit from the marinade reserve the vegetables and marinade.
  3. Preheat oven to 150C. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof saucepan (large enough to hold the rabbit and stock) over a moderate heat. Add the rabbit to the pan and brown on all sides. Add the bacon, reserved vegetables and herbs to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir in the mustard followed by the strained marinade and chicken stock. Increase the heat and bring to a strong simmer. Place a lid over the saucepan and place in the preheated oven. Leave to cook slowly for 4 hours.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven, the meat should now be tender and full off the bone. Strain the meat from the cooking stock and shred. Strain the stock, discard the vegetables. Place the cooking liquid in a saucepan and bring to a strong simmer, skim off any scum that rises to the surface, reduce to a steady simmer and leave until reduced down to around 300ml (skim regularly). Add the cream and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the shredded rabbit, nutmeg, salt and pepper (the rabbit should absorb the sauce). Allow to cool.
  5. Lightly oil 6-8 dariole moulds. Firmly pack the rabbit mixture into the moulds, cover with cling film and leave 8 hours before serving. The compote will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator.
  6. Apple Sauce: Place all the apple compote ingredients in a saucepan over a moderate heat, cook for around 15 minutes until the apple is soft (stirring regularly). Set aside until ready to serve. The apple is best served at room temperature.
  7. To Serve: Remove the compote from the fridge 15 minutes before serving. Dip the moulds briefly in warm/hot water, run a small sharp knife around the edge and turn out onto serving plates. Accompany each serving with a couple of tablespoons of apple sauce and an optional handful of watercress.