I thought I’d start my blog by sharing my mother’s luscious, heart-and toe-warming, Rabbit, Mushroom, and Cider Pie. Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or autumn, a nice golden pie bursting with meaty goodness is always a welcome choice.
I used flaky pastry for the pie featured in the photo but if you’re feeling energetic then feel free to make your own, or use the butter puff pastry as the recipe lists.
1 tblsp olive oil
250 gm thick cut streaky bacon or 2 streaky bacon ends
1 kg rabbit meat cut into pieces (about two ¾ grown wild rabbits)
1 stick of celery
1 lge brown onion
1 bay leaf
250 g cultivated mushrooms sliced thick (you can use shitake mushrooms which have a big meaty flavour but only use one or two so the flavour doesn’t overpower the rabbit)
1 tsp butter
10 gm plain flour for thickening
1 sheet of butter puff pastry
1 egg beaten
Salt and pepper to taste or you can add a few drops of fish sauce to add depth of flavour
500ml Apple cider (dry)
NB: The cider you use in your pie will alter the flavour slightly. I used Harcourt Dry Cider – a beautiful, fresh, farmhouse style cider.
The Cheeky Grog Co Flip Cider Dry, Grannies that Pop, Secret Seven Heritage, Henry of Harcourt Duck and Bull Premium Draught Cider – (farmhouse style with an interesting flavour)
If you were able to buy thick bacon then cut into cubes and fry in the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan or French oven till brown. Remove from oil.
Brown onion gently till caramelised only. Remove.
Next, brown off rabbit pieces and remove. (Meat still on the bone is best as it adds flavour.)
Drain off excess fat and return all the pot.
Add chopped celery, carrot and bay leaf.
Add a little water and simmer gently with the lid on till meat is cooked. One hour gentle cooking and remember a French oven on top of the stove needs to be on very low once the heat has built up otherwise the mix will burn.
Remove bones from meat when still warm.
Season stock and reduce if you think there is too much liquid. If it’s necessary to enhance flavour, add some pea water or vegetable stock.
Fry off mushrooms in a pan on high heat with a little butter or olive oil.
Add to pot with half the cider and cook again gently for another twenty minutes.
Heat butter in a pan and when bubbling, add the flour and mix a smooth roux.
Add more cider and then mix into the hot pie mix a little at a time making sure it thickens the mix but does not go lumpy. Cook for a few minutes to ensure the flour is cooked thoroughly.
Add extra roux if needed. The addition of cider at the end helps to keep the freshness of cider in the pie.
Spoon cooled mix into a pie dish lined with butter puff pastry or make individual pies with smaller moulds. If you don’t like too much pastry put the mix into unlined small ceramic dishes or pots and cover with pastry.
Cook in a hot oven for about ten minutes till pastry is puffed and golden brown. You may have to turn your oven down after pastry has puffed up so it doesn’t burn.
Great served with mashed potatoes, greens such as beans or leaves of your choice and a cold glass of cider of course.