Gower businessman Mark Mead persuades us to eat more rabbit with his delicious recipe for home made rabbit pie
Rabbit is a great food source, low in fat, wholesome and inexpensive, and is both under-rated and under-used here in the UK. Clearly we find it difficult to make a meal of a creature that is fluffy, cuddly and the star of countless children’s stories.
The truth, however is that the wild rabbit population must be controlled because of the widespread destruction they cause to crops and gardens. One of the worst methods used to eradicate the rabbit was to introduce the lethal viral disease myxomatosis which results in an extremely unpleasant death
It is a far better solution to cull the wild rabbit pest by shooting or trapping it for the table. Let’s overcome our inhibitions and learn to control wild rabbit numbers by adding them to our culinary repertoire on a regular basis.
If we eat more of this wonderful, wild, in the main organic, and abundant food source, it would again become viable for them to be caught and dispatched in a humane way and distributed more widely.
So do a rabbit a huge favour and make a rabbit pie! And afterwards you can try other delicious traditional rabbit receipts like Elizabethan Rabbit, Rabbit in Cider —– and rabbit is a great alternative to mass produced chicken in any curry.
First catch your rabbit.
When choosing a rabbit try to get a young wild rabbit. Wild rabbit has a more gamey flavour than farmed rabbit — but please make sure it’s British and better still, if possible, local.
Mr Mead’s Rabbit Pie
For the pastry
- 1lb of self raising flour
- 8oz of (Trex) Vegetable Fat
- 2-3 table spoons of ice cold water use only enough to bind the pastry
For the pie filling
- 1 rabbit jointed (a rabbit will easily joint into five with poultry shears)
- 4oz unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 leek
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- 2oz flour seasoned with salt and black pepper (white will do)
- Bouquet garni (Thyme, Bay Leaf, Parsley Stalks)
- Half a pint of medium dry white wine
- Half a pint of good chicken or light beef stock depending on your preference (bizarrely I actually like to mix the two)
- 1handful of fresh parsley chopped
I like to prepare all the ingredients before I actually start cooking the pie filling.
Joint your rabbit
- Peel and chop the vegetables into pieces about half the size you would for a stew.
- Put a heavy pan onto a gentle heat and melt the butter
- Add the vegetables, thyme and garlic and cook them slowly until soft and lightly browned.
- Now pour the olive oil into a frying pan over a medium heat
- Dust your rabbit in the seasoned flour and place in the pan to gently brown on both sides
- Once browned, place the rabbit pieces in with the vegetables.
- Deglaze the frying pan with a little of the stock having first removed any excess oil and add to the pot (Note: If what is in the pan is brown it’s flavour but if it’s black it’s bitter and best discarded)
- Now add the rest of the stock and the white wine to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook slowly for approximately 1 ½ hours or until the meat is tender
- Remove the meat from the bones in chunky pieces. Discard the bones.
- Return the meat to the pot along with the chopped parsley
- Adjust the seasoning to taste and gently mix.
After the rabbit has been cooking for about an hour you can think about making the pastry
- Add the flour and Trex in a mixing bowl and lightly rub them together using your finger tips once they are blended together
- Add just enough really cold water to just bind the mix together and your pastry is made.
- Roll out the pastry
- Line your greased pie dish with some of it keeping enough back for the top. Add the filling and cover with the remainder of the pastry making a small hole in the centre to let out the steam
- Brush with beaten egg.
- Place the pie in a pre heated oven at 180 C for 30 minutes
- Check that the crust is not burning and if it looks like it’s at risk cover lightly with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
Serve hot with potatoes and seasonal green vegetables. This pie is also delicious served cold.
Th th th that’s all folks! Enjoy.