A traditional recipe for the weekend

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David Swallow is head chef at The Chestnuts in Gedney and has a passion for traditional style recipes.

As a result, rabbit pie is frequently on the menu – and it’s popular with customers.

David is sharing his recipe for Rabbit Pie with a fresh herb pastry crust.

YOU WILL NEED

1 large or 2 medium rabbits, skinned and jointed

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 medium carrots, each cut into 4 lengths and rough diced

4 slices smoked streaky bacon cut into strips or bacon lardons

8-10 juniper berries

150g plain flour

Salt and pepper

6 bay leaves

Few sprigs of fresh thyme

6-8 sage leaves

4 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 tsp redcurrant jelly

1 ltr good quality chicken stock

Knob butter

Ground black pepper (optional)

Egg to glaze

METHOD

Clean rabbit portions and place in bowl of salt water; after one hour, rinse and dry the rabbit.

Season 100g plain flour and coat rabbit portions. Heat rapeseed oil in pan and gently seal the rabbit until golden brown. Fry bacon strips or lardons for 2-3 minutes to caramelise, then the onion and carrot and soften for 2-3 minutes. Place sealed rabbit, bacon, and onion and carrot in an oven-proof dish. Add the roughly torn sage leaves, together with few sprigs of fresh thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries, pinch of salt and pepper and chicken stock. Cover with a lid or foil, place in oven (180oC/Gas6) and cook for 1½-2 hours until tender.

When cooked, remove the rabbit portions onto a dish to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove all flesh from the bones trying to keep large chunks of meat from the saddle and legs. Place in an ovenproof pie dish. If you have a pie funnel place in the centre of the dish. Sieve all the carrots and onion etc from cooking liquid and cover rabbit. Remove bay leaves and thyme stalks from the cooking liquid and boil in a heavy based saucepan, reducing by about half.

Quickly whisk in the remaining 50g plain flour and a knob of butter to create a rich jus and pour over rabbit. Dot the redcurrant jelly over rabbit which will melt and permeate during cooking.

Make the pastry in the usual way, adding three dessertspoons each of chopped fresh sage and chopped fresh thyme after rubbing the fat and flour together and before adding water to form the pastry ball. After covering the pie with pastry, egg glaze and bake for 30-40 minutes (200oC/Gas 8). Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Courtesy Select Lincolnshire