Published on August 21st, 2011 | by Gareth1
Rabbit and Prune Pie
When it comes to buying meat I am a big fan of using a butcher. Apart from supporting local small business, a butchers shop will generally offer a wider selection and often better product knowledge. Make friends with your local butcher and they will look after you.
Unfortunately for me, Pyrmont doesn’t have a butcher the closest one is in Glebe or Balmain. So when I saw wild rabbit in the local Coles I snapped them up like a hungry wolf.
Rabbit is seeing a bit of a resurgence having fallen out of favour for years. It’s a feature of traditional hearty dishes in rural England and France in fact much of Europe. The meat is incredibly lean and a good source of protein. Wild rabbit has the added bonus of being free range and organic. The only downside is, if not cooked correctly it can sometimes be tough. This is a recipe that I came up with last weekend. It takes a bit of time and involves some fiddling around but you don’t need to be a chef to make it and it has a wow factor, not bad for a humble pie.
- 2 Rabbits (1 if farm reared as wild ones are pretty scrawny)
- 200gm Bacon or lardons
- 6 Shallots, peeled
- 1 Large carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
- Fresh thyme
- 250ml White wine
- Handful of stoned prunes
- Salt and pepper to season
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Lard or canola oil for cooking
- 2 tblsp Cream
- 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Bandy
- 1 tsp Flour (mixed with 3 tsp water)
- 400gm plain flour (preferably chilled too)
- 200gm Chilled butter
- 100ml iced water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg to brush the pie lid
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Chop the bacon (remove rind) or lardons into cubes.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil or knob of lard in a frying pan and add the bacon. Fry over a medium heat until browned. Remove from pan and add to a casserole dish.
- Cut the rabbit up. Cut the hind legs off and cut the saddle (back) into even sections 2-3 pieces depending on the size of the rabbit. Cut through the rib cage and down the middle of the spine to so the front legs are in even portions. You should end up with 6 pieces of rabbit.
- Using the same oil and rendered bacon fat, sear the rabbit portions on a high heat. Lightly brown and then transfer to the casserole dish.
- Add the peeled shallots and carrot to the frying pan and lightly brown over a high heat.
- Transfer to the casserole dish.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and pour over the rabbit. Ensure that the rabbit is submerged under the wine.
- Add a bay leaf and 3 teaspoons of fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and pop into the oven for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and comes off the bone easily.
- Make the pastry.
- When the rabbit is cooked remove the rabbit portions and allow them to cool. When they are cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bone and mix the rabbit meat with the bacon, shallots and carrot.
- Pour the wine based cooking liquor left in the casserole dish into a pan and reduce by half. You can strain through a sieve but I just removed the meat and shallots and any thyme stems.
- Roll the pastry out. You will need 2 circles, one large enough to line the pie dish and a second smaller circle for the pie lid.
- Line a pre greased deep pie dish with the largest circle. I used a 20cm diameter spring cake tin lined with baking paper. At 6cm deep there is plenty of room for filling.
- Blind bake the pastry in the oven for about 8 minutes, remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the filling (rabbit pieces, bacon, shallots, carrots and prunes and 2 tablespoons of the liqour) to the pie.
- Brush the edges of the second pastry circle with a little water. This will be the underside of your pie lid.
- Put the lid on and pinch the edges with your finger and thumbs to seal the lid to the edges.
- Brush the top with egg and bake in the oven until golden, (about 25-30 minutes)
- While the pie is baking make the sauce. I didn’t add the sauce to the pie as it can sometimes make the pastry soggy.
- Keeping the reduced liquor over a medium heat, add the brandy and Dijon mustard. Stir in with a hand whisk.
- Reduce the heat and whisk in the cream, keep stirring to prevent it breaking up.
- If the sauce has not thickened at this point add the flour water mix which will act as a thickening agent.
- Serve with roasted veges.