Rabbit, ale and hazelnut suet pie

Rabbit, ale and hazelnut suet pie

Tara Fisher

I first had this dish at a shoot lunch, and after a day in a cold field with the gun dogs it was just what I needed. If you’re not fond of rabbit, other types of game, or beef, will work well too. The idea is that it’s a self-contained meal, complete with proper gravy.


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
60g cold lard or butter, plus extra for greasing
225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
90g shredded beef suet
1 egg


Quantity Ingredient
1 onion
2 carrots
2 garlic cloves
rapeseed oil, for frying
750g boneless rabbit, diced
2 tablespoons plain flour
125ml red wine
1 litre beef stock
1 fresh thyme sprig
100g hazelnuts, toasted
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the pastry, grate the lard or butter, then place it in a bowl with the flour, salt and suet and mix to combine. Add 150–175ml water to form a smooth dough, then knead it for a minute. Wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest for about 20 minutes.
  2. Grease a 1-litre pudding basin with butter and dust it with flour. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 2cm thick, allowing about 2cm extra all the way round the basin. Place the pastry into the basin and push it into the corners, making sure that there is an overhang around the edges. Roll out the rest of the pastry to make the lid for the pie and place it on a tray in the fridge to rest.
  3. Dice the onion and carrots and crush the garlic. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat, add a little oil and the onion and cook for 2 minutes without colouring, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the carrots and cook for 2–3 minutes, then drain into a colander.
  4. Toss the rabbit with the flour so that it is well coated, season with salt and pepper, then return the pan to the heat and drizzle in a little more oil. Add the rabbit and fry on each side until golden brown. Add the red wine and simmer until reduced by half, then add the stock and thyme, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 50 minutes.
  5. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and add them to the cooked vegetables in the colander. After 35 minutes, add the vegetables to the pan with the rabbit and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and check the seasoning.
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Lightly beat the egg. Remove the pastry-lined pudding basin from the fridge and pour the rabbit filling into it. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg and place the pastry lid on top, pressing together gently to seal it. Brush the top of the pie with the egg. Place on a cloth in a deep-sided roasting tin, then half-fill with water and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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