Traditional Rabbit Pie Recipe

Traditional Rabbit Pie Recipe: European cuisine

Rabbit pie is a classic dish with deep roots in British and European cuisine. Known for its rich, savory flavor and tender meat, this pie is perfect for those who love to explore traditional dishes. Here’s a comprehensive guide to making a delicious rabbit pie from scratch.


For the Filling:

  • 1 whole rabbit, jointed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 300ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg, beaten


Step 1: Prepare the Rabbit Filling

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Brown the Rabbit: In a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper, then brown them in the pot until golden on all sides. Remove the rabbit and set it aside.
  3. Cook the Vegetables: In the same pot, add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Make the Sauce: Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Gradually add the stock and wine, stirring constantly.
  5. Simmer and Bake: Return the rabbit to the pot, add the bay leaves and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the rabbit is tender and falling off the bone.
  6. Shred the Rabbit: Remove the rabbit from the pot, let it cool slightly, then shred the meat, discarding the bones. Return the shredded rabbit to the pot and mix well with the vegetables and sauce. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Step 2: Prepare the Pastry

  1. Mix the Dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour and a pinch of salt. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and enough cold water to bring the dough together.
  2. Chill the Dough: Knead briefly until smooth, then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3: Assemble and Bake the Pie

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Roll Out the Pastry: Roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a pie dish.
  3. Fill the Pie: Spoon the cooled rabbit filling into the pastry-lined dish.
  4. Add the Lid: Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid. Brush the edge of the base pastry with a little beaten egg, then place the lid on top. Trim and crimp the edges to seal.
  5. Bake the Pie: Cut a small hole in the center of the pie to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Step 4: Serve

  • Allow the pie to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy your delicious homemade rabbit pie with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.


Can I use store-bought pastry?Yes, you can use store-bought pastry to save time. Look for shortcrust or puff pastry.
Can I use a different meat?Yes, chicken or game meats like pheasant can be used as substitutes for rabbit.
How do I joint a rabbit?Ask your butcher to joint it for you, or follow online guides for step-by-step instructions.
Can I make the filling ahead of time?Yes, the filling can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the pie.
What sides go well with rabbit pie?Mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and a fresh green salad are excellent choices.
Can I freeze the pie?Yes, the pie can be frozen either before or after baking. Ensure it is well wrapped to prevent freezer burn.
How long will the leftovers keep?Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving.
What wine pairs well with rabbit pie?A dry white wine like Chardonnay or a light red like Pinot Noir pairs well with rabbit pie.
Is rabbit meat healthy?Yes, rabbit meat is lean and high in protein, making it a healthy option.
Can I add other vegetables?Yes, feel free to add other vegetables like peas or leeks to the filling.

Tips for Making the Perfect Rabbit Pie:

  1. Quality Ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor.
  2. Cool the Filling: Ensure the filling is completely cool before adding it to the pastry to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy.
  3. Seal the Edges: Crimp the edges of the pastry well to prevent the filling from leaking out during baking.
  4. Egg Wash: Don’t skip the egg wash on the pastry lid as it helps to achieve a beautiful golden brown finish.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll be able to create a delicious and hearty rabbit pie that’s sure to impress your family and friends. Enjoy the process of making this traditional dish and savor the flavors of a well-made pie.

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