I won’t win a popularity contest with my nieces for this recipe but, in my defence, this pie is delicious. Some butchers sell rabbit and Sainsbury sell packs of diced rabbit. Ideally you want leg meat as the saddle is too lean for a pie filling. Sainsbury also happen to make the best all-butter puff pastry-hands down better than other supermarket brands.
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 150g smoked back bacon, cut into small chunks
- 750g diced rabbit
- 3 leeks, washed, trimmed and cut into ½ cm thick rounds
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 150g baby carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and chopped
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 500ml chicken stock
- 60g butter
- 60g plain flour, plus a little extra for the pastry rolling
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 100ml double cream
- 500g all-butter puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole dish and fry the bacon for 3-4 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside. Brown the rabbit meat in batches for 3-4 minutes, turning the pieces over halfway through. Lift out and add to the bacon.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and sauté the leeks, celery and carrots for 8-10 minutes until softened. Return the bacon and rabbit to the pan and pour over the stock. Tie the thyme and bay leaf together with string and add to the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to cook for 45 minutes.
- Take off the heat and strain the contents through a sieve, reserving the cooking liquor. Tip the meat and veg into a pie dish, discarding the thyme and bay leaf.
- Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute then gradually pour in the reserved cooking liquor. Stir over a low heat until the sauce is thick and smooth. Stir in the mustard and cream and taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Pour the sauce over the rabbit and mix well. Leave to cool.
- Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry, large enough to cover your pie dish. Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little of the beaten egg and lay the pastry over. Press the sides down to seal and decorate with fiddly bits if you like. Make a hole in the centre to let the steam escape. Brush with beaten egg and bake for about 40 minutes until the pie is puffed up and golden.