Mary's rabbit pie

all details

My mother would have used any rabbit caught by my grandpa, and the pie would have had more or less meat in it accordingly. A farmed rabbit would yield more meat than is really needed for this dish. Any resulting extra filling could be reheated on another occasion in a small gratin dish.

Mary's rabbit pie
Photo: Mark Chew

Ingredients

  • 1 wild rabbit
  • 2 litres chicken stock (or water or half and half)
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 piece lemon zest
  • 1 stalk parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 100g smoked streaky bacon, minced
  • 200g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quantity shortcrust pastry
  • (see recipe, right)
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Sauce
  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 litre reserved cooking liquid
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Remove kidneys and liver from rabbit and reserve. Simmer rabbit in stock with celery, carrot, onion, zest, herbs and peppercorns until back legs test tender, 1-2 hours. Allow rabbit to cool completely in stock. Remove rabbit and set strained cooking liquid aside. Strip all meat from carcass and cut into small pieces. Discard bones.

Lightly saute bacon and mushrooms and quickly sear reserved kidneys and liver. Chop kidneys and liver and mix with rabbit meat, bacon, mushrooms and almonds in a bowl. Mix in parsley and season well. Cover with clingwrap.

To make the sauce

Cook butter and flour over a gentle heat to make a roux. Gradually stir in reserved rabbit stock and bring to simmering point. Add cream and lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes, using a simmer mat to prevent sauce sticking. Check for seasoning, then add enough sauce to meat to make a creamy, not sloppy, filling. Allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Line a 28cmx18cmx5cm lamington tin or baking dish with pastry (reserve some pastry to make a latticed top if you wish) and bake blind for 20 minutes.

Remove pastry case from oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 180C. Spoon filling into pastry case. Scatter breadcrumbs on top and criss-cross strips of pastry over the filling if you wish. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is well browned.

Serve with chutney or pickled fruit.

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  • Course - Lunch

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