Main Meal Recipes > Harvest Rabbit Pie

This recipe is part of the November 2006 Recipes Menu

Starter - Celery and Stilton Soup
Main Course - Harvest Rabbit Pie
Dessert - Banbury Apple Pie

How to make harvest rabbit pie:
Traditionally this is the time of year to enjoy game, and rabbit should be available in your local butchers. Chicken would make a suitable substitute if you cannot obtain or would prefer not to eat rabbit.


4 tablespoons (2oz) butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
medium sized rabbit, cut into 6 portions or 6 ready jointed portions
5 rashers streaky bacon, rinds removed, diced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 level tablespoons plain flour
1 1/4 pints dry cider
1 cup (8oz) dried prunes (not ready to eat variety)
bouquet garni
seasoning to taste

For the pastry:
2 cups (8oz) self raising flour
3/4 cup (3oz) shredded beef or vegetable suet
4 tablespoons (2oz) butter, chilled and coarsely grated
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
strained juice half lemon
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk to glaze
(see measure conversions for more information)


- Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and fry the rabbit portions until golden brown.
- Remove the rabbit portions from the pan and put aside on a plate.
- Add the bacon to the pan and fry gently until it begins to release its fat.
- Stir in the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until it softens and begins to brown.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then gradually stir in the cider.
- Return the rabbit portions to the pan add the prunes and bouquet garni and season well.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the rabbit is very tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool, then chill overnight in the refrigerator.
- Next day, preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark6.
- To make the pastry, mix the flour with suet, grated butter, lemon rind and parsley and form a well in the centre.
- Make the lemon juice up to 6 fluid oz with cold water and stir in the beaten egg.
- Pour in the well in the centre of the flour and mix together to make soft dough.
- Knead on a lightly floured surface for 1 minute until smooth.
- Transfer the cold rabbit stew to a large, deep pie dish.
- Roll out the dough to an oval 2 inches larger than the dish and cut off a 1 inch strip from round the edge.
- Wet the edge of the pie dish and press the strip firmly onto it.
- Brush the strip with milk, and then cover the rabbit with the remaining dough.
- Press the edges together well to seal, then trim off the excess dough and decorate the edge.
- Make a hole in the centre of the pie to let the steam escape.
- Brush with the milk to glaze, then bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden brown.
- Should the pie begin to brown too much, cover it loosely with a piece of foil.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and some new carrots glazed with butter.