Rabbit, bacon and perry pie

Rabbit, bacon and perry pie

By
From
The Frugal Cook
Photographer
Mike Cooper

The cost of rabbit depends very much on where you live. In the country it's a snip. In the city it may be as cheap to use chicken, (though you won't get quite as good a texture). This is a slightly more frugal version of the recipe in Meat and Two Veg (Absolute Press) using perry (pear cider) instead of white wine.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4-5 tablespoons light olive oil or sunflower oil
100g smoked bacon bits or smoked streaky bacon
rinded and roughly chopped
1 rabbit, jointed
500ml chicken or light vegetable stock
1 medium onion
1-2 carrots
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon plain flour
250ml medium dry perry or cider or dry white wine
125g chestnut mushrooms
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 level tablespoon dijon mustard
salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
125g chilled butter, cut into small cubes
75g chilled cookeen or other vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons iced water
1 medium egg, lightly beaten, for glazing the pie

Method

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and fry the bacon pieces for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a deep casserole. Brown the rabbit pieces lightly on all sides and transfer to the casserole. Pour half the stock into the pan and bubble up for a minute. Pour over the rabbit. Wipe the pan, replace over a medium heat and add the remaining oil. Fry the onion and carrot until beginning to soften (about 5-6 minutes). Add the thyme and stir in the flour then gradually add the remaining stock and perry. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then pour over the rabbit and bacon. Add the bayleaf and cover the meat closely with greaseproof paper. Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat right down, and leave to simmer for 50-60 minutes or until tender.
  2. While the rabbit is cooking make the pastry. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the cubes of butter and Cookeen. Cut the fat into the flour then rub it in with your fingertips until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the iced water and work it in with a flat bladed knife, pulling the mixture together as you go. Using your hand, pull it together into a ball, then shape the pastry into a flat disc. (You can obviously also make this in a food processor). Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Once the rabbit is cooked, remove the pieces from the pan and strip the meat off the bones, leaving it in largeish chunks. Reduce the sauce by about half until thickened then take off the heat and add the sliced mushrooms, parsley and mustard. Stir well, check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste, and leave to cool.
  4. When the filling is cold, heat the oven to 200°C. Spoon the filling into the pie dish. Roll out the pastry quite thickly to a circle slightly larger than the width of the dish. Carefully lower it over the filling. Using a pastry brush, moisten the rim of the dish under the pastry with beaten egg then press the edges down and trim off the excess pastry round the edges. Cut a slit in the middle of the pie. To decorate the pie, press the remaining scraps of pastry together then roll it out and cut rabbit faces or any other shapes you like from it. Brush the pie with beaten egg then decorate it, glazing the decorations with more beaten egg. Bake the pie for 36-40 minutes until the pastry is well browned. Serve hot with buttered new potatoes and peas or cold with a simple green salad.

Variations

  • Use chicken instead of rabbit.

Leftovers

  • Really excellent cold - almost better than hot.

Thirfty tip

  • Look out for rabbit in country butchers and farm shops.
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