Steve Gadd from The Rookery at Clapham Common likes a pie – this excellent English example will have you pie-eyed this St George’s Day.


For the crust:

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 125g suet
  • 150ml water

For the filling:

  • 4 onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds 
  • 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • salt, sugar and vinegar to season
  • 2 whole English rabbits
  • 500g tinned tomatoes
  • 500g chicken stock
  • 100g good-quality smoked bacon
  • 50g flour


For the pastry:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Clingfilm the bowl and refrigerate until required.

For the filling:

  • Peel all the vegetables – slice half of them and sweat down in a pan with the garlic.
  • Once cooked down, add all the herbs and spices – cook the rawness out of the spices for a few minutes then add the tomatoes and stock.
  • Allow to bubble away for 20 minutes or so and then season with salt, a little sugar and vinegar 
  • While the sauce cooks, butcher the rabbits – take the legs and shoulders off then cut the main body into 4 and discard the head.
  • Season the meat and add to sauce.
  • Bring up to the boil and then turn down to a very slow simmer.
  • Allow to slowly braise for 4-5 hours or until the rabbit falls off the bone. Cool.
  • Remove the meat from the sauce and strip from the bones. Place the meat in a bowl with enough stock just to stop the rabbit drying out.
  • Strain the sauce and return to the pan to reduce by a third. 
  • Dice and caramelise the bacon. Add the bacon to the reserved rabbit meat.
  • Dice the remaining vegetables and sweat off in the bacon fat.
  • Add the flour, cook out for few minutes, then add the reduced sauce.
  • Add the bacon and the rabbit back into the sauce.

To assemble and cook the pie:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Place the mix into a heavy bottomed pan – Le Creuset-type is perfect.
  • Roll out the chilled, rested pastry to 1cm in thickness and place on top of the pan to cover fully.
  • Glaze the top with beaten egg.
  • Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 165C for 20 minutes.
  • Ensure the top is golden brown and the pie is piping hot.
  • Serve with seasoned greens.