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.