Rabbit & bacon pie

The Feathers, Oxfordshire

2kg rabbit legs
200g pancetta
80g button mushrooms
20g each of carrot, leek, celery and sliced onion
5g garlic
20g caramelised tomato
500ml white wine
500ml madeira
1 litre chicken stock
1 litre veal stock
5g thyme
1 bay leaf
4g mixed pink & white peppercorns
100ml double cream

Ham hock
1 ham hock
50g carrot
50g leek
50g celery
50g onion
10g garlic
5g thyme
1 bay leaf

Mushrooms & melted onions
1kg onions
200g nice meaty mushrooms (button, wood blewits, horse)
250g butter
2 red peppers

Pie top pastry
200g suet
400g self raising flour
Pinch of salt
Cold water to bind


Serves 4-6

Brown off the rabbit legs on all sides in a large pan. Once evenly caramelised transfer to a casserole dish. Brown the pancetta in the same pan then add to the rabbit. Add a little more oil and butter to the pan and caramelise the sliced onions, carrots, leeks, celery and garlic. In a separate pan caramelise the button mushrooms. Cut the tomatoes in half and place flat side down on a tray with a little water. Roast at 180˚C until soft and caramelised. Add all the vegetables to the casserole.

Deglaze the main pan with madeira and reduce; add the wine and again reduce by half, then add to the casserole with the stocks, herbs, and peppercorns, cover with foil, and cook at 140˚C for two hours or until tender. Once cool enough to handle pass the stock from the casserole through a fine sieve. Reserve the meat and discard the vegetables. Pick the meat from the rabbit, leaving the pieces fairly large, and cut the bacon into bite size pieces. Reduce the sauce to the right consistency then finish with herbs, seasoning, double cream and lemon juice. Pass again through a fine sieve.

Place the ham hock in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, then rinse under cold water for five minutes. Return the hock to the pan and cover with cold water and all other ingredients. Simmer for two hours or until the hock is tender, then remove from stock, pick the meat into bite size pieces, and set aside until required.

Thinly slice the onions. Sweat in 200g of butter at a low temperature for 4 hours or until completely tender. Quarter the mushrooms, fry off until golden brown in butter, then drain off excess butter and keep until required.

Roast the peppers then leave to cool in a bowl covered with cling film. When cool, peel and slice into strips.

Mix the suet and flour for the pastry with a pinch of salt. Add cold water carefully to achieve a firm dough. Rest the dough in the fridge for an hour before use.

To finish, the weights below are for individual pies. Use the same proportions for a single large pie.

100g pastry; 120g rabbit meat; 15g pancetta; 25g ham hock; 5g mushrooms; 20g melted onions; 10g red pepper; 120g sauce; Egg yolk for wash.

Season each element of the pie then place into a pie dish. Roll out the pastry and crimp around the dish, trimming the edges so that the pie is tidy. Make a small criss-cross in the centre of the pie with the tip of a knife and rest in the fridge. Egg wash the pastry before baking at 200˚C for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.