Rabbit is one of those meats that most of us only eat at restaurants. It’s not something we cook at home, but in the spirit of Easter & white fluffy bunnies hip-hopping around in the sun kissed grass, I thought it would be a good idea to cook with rabbit…
Rabbit is a game meat & to my surprise, not expensive. It’s strong in taste, but when you slow cook it for 2 hours in the oven, the meat is juicy, soft & melts in your mouth.
Pies are something we all love & when you’re heading on a picnic or popping over for a family BBQ, you want something that is easy to transport & can be eaten warm or cold. Pies are known for their British heritage, but they are also Russian… probably any freeze-your-ass-off country for that matter. But these Mini Rabbit Pies will give you a little taste of Russia.
Mini Rabbit Pies (MIM style)
What you need
1 rabbit, jointed
5 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
1 white onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 fennel blub, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large potatoes, peeled & diced
½ cup green peas
1 cup organic vegetable stock
1 cup cider
good glug of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup sour cream
handful of fresh thyme & dill
good knob of butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 organic, free range egg, lightly beaten
6 dutch carrots
sea salt & pepper (to taste)
Go for it…
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius & grease a muffin tin with butter. Leave your pastry out on the bench to thaw.
Add a good glug of oil in a deep casserole dish & heat over a high heat. Add the jointed rabbit & sear on all sides until golden brown. Add the butter, onion, celery, fennel, potatoes, thyme, dill, garlic, stock & cider. Cover with a lid & braise in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat is soft & falling off the bone. Check every 40 minutes that there is still liquid in the pot, add a splash of water if running low.
For the pastry, cut six rounds to size (size will vary on the size of your tin) to line six holes of your muffin tin. Prick the pastry & cover each pie base with baking paper, fill with uncooked rice, bake for 10 minutes. Then remove the paper & rice, bake for a further 5-8 minutes or until golden, set aside to cool slightly.
Once the rabbit meat is falling off the bone, remove the rabbit from the liquid, place onto a chopping board & chop/shred the meat, discarding the bones & place the meat into a bowl.
Using a fine strainer, strain the braising stock into a saucepan. Over a low heat, reduce the liquid by half, adding in the flour & whisk to combine. Allow the liquid to cool, pour on top of the rabbit meat, add the sour cream & peas (they will cook in the oven), mix to combine & season with sea salt & pepper.
Distribute your rabbit mixture among the blind baked pastry cases.
Cut another 6 rounds from the pastry (leaving a 1cm boarder) for the lids of your pies. Pop on top of the filling, brush the edges with eggwash & press to seal the edges. Cut a 1cm small hole in the centre of each pastry (for the dutch carrots to sit in), brush with egg wash & bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
While the pies are finishing off in the oven, grab a pan, heat a little knob of butter, add in the dutch carrots & glaze for about 5 minutes, until cooked. Once the pies are done, place a carrot on top of each pie, season with sea salt & pepper.
These pies are great eaten warm or cold.