About this recipe:Rabbit is an outrageously underrated meat - I suppose some people can only think of nice fluffy bunnies as pets and not for eating. The meat is perfect for novices of game as it has a slight gamey flavour yet has similar characteristics to chicken in terms of flavour and texture. There is an abundance of rabbit in the UK and we're right in season at the moment so your local butcher will be able to get wild rabbit if you pre-order - a wild rabbit should cost no more than £3.50 each.
Firstly you'll need to joint the rabbits. Here's how it's done. Cut the hind quarters away from the body and separate the legs. Halve the leg joints. Cut the body horizontally through the backbone into two portions, stopping at the rib cage. Cut lengthways through the breastbone and divide the ribcage section in half. Flour and season the rabbit joints generously.
Now finely slice the onion and bacon and add a little butter (25g) to a very large saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil to stop the butter from burning. Add the rabbit joints and fry for 5 minutes until nice and browned and remove from the pan. Now add the onions and bacon and fry until brown.
Add the rabbit back to the pan along with the finely chopped garlic and thyme and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add 600ml (2 pt) of chicken stock and simmer gently for 40 minutes. Once simmered turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down completely. Transfer to an ovenproof pie dish.
Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
For the pastry:
Whilst the mixture is cooling down you can make the pastry. I prefer shortcrust for this pie. You can use flaky or rough puff if you wish.
For 340g shortcrust pastry (which will be more than enough to cover the pie dish), put the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and rub between your fingers to breadcrumb consistency. Then stir in (use a knife) a little water until the mixture becomes dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Remove from the fridge and roll out over a floured work surface. Cover the pie filling with the pastry then press down the edges and trim away any excess. Prick a few holes in the top with a fork to allow the steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is piping hot.
I would serve with a big pile of comforting mash, happy eating!
Can't wait to try this! I had rabbit years ago when visiting France and I loved it ... like you say very under rated! I have never tried cooking it myself though, so I am going to have a go at making your pie. I went to my local butchers this week and 500g of Rabbit was only 2 pounds : ) - 02 Oct 2014