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Apparently, this week is British Pie Week. I don’t usually pay much attention to this kind of thing but, stuck for something to eat tonight, it was a welcome suggestion. I had it all worked out and had researched my recipe idea thoroughly but, when I got to the shop, they didn’t have the ingredients I needed. I find my mind tends to go blank in these situations and I end up wandering around aimlessly, I managed to avoid this today though when I spotted some some rabbit.
We’ve cooked with rabbit a couple of times and had mixed resutls, the rabbit pappardelle was one of my favourites of my last year though and it definitely benefitted from a long, slow cooking. Perfect for pie filling then!
I cooked the rabbit in a pretty similar way to chicken casserole, with just a few tweaks, and then let the filling reduce right down before adding it to the pie dish and topping it with puff pastry. It turned out brilliantly: the meat was tender and moist and the tangy mustard leant itself well to the sweetness of the rabbit and sherry. Served with more mustard in the shape of mustardy mashed potatoes and some crunchy, green cabbage.
Salt and pepper
1 rabbit, boned and diced
2 leeks, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
250ml chicken stock
20 thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Pastry (I cheated and used ready-rolled)
black onion seeds (optional)
Start by tossing the rabbit pieces in the seasoned flour and then browning in batches. Remove browned rabbit to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan, fry off the lardons until the fat has rendered and add to the browned rabbit.
Next, soften the leek, carrot and celery for about 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the rabbit and lardons back to the pan, deglaze with the sherry and then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours (longer if you have time).
Once the rabbit has cooked through, the sauce should have reduced to a thick, syrupy liquid. If it hasn’t then turn up the heat and allow the liquid to bubble until it has thickened.
Add the contents of the saucepan to your pie dish, top with the pastry, brush with an egg (and sprinkle with the onion seeds if using) and then cook until the pastry has browned (about 25 minutes).