Old-English Rabbit Pie

This is a really delicious pie, good for a dinner party – and if you can get hold of a wild rabbit for it so much the better.


Serves 4-6

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course and Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course

Old-English Rabbit Pie
For the suet crust pastry:
 12 oz (350 g) self-raising flour
 6 oz (175 g) shredded suet
 ½ teaspoon salt
 freshly milled black pepper
For the filling:
 1 rabbit, approximately 3 lb (1.35 kg), cut into joints
 2 medium onions, chopped fairly small
 8 oz (225 g) unsmoked streaky bacon, in one piece
 1 medium cooking apple, peeled and sliced
 4 oz (110 g) pitted prunes (weighed after the stones have been removed), chopped
 ½ pint (275 ml) dry cider
 ¾ pint (425 ml) stock or water
 ½ whole nutmeg, grated
 1 bay leaf
 1½ oz (40 g) plain flour
 1½ oz (40 g) butter
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).

You will also need a 2½ pint (1.5 litre) pie dish.



Wash the rabbit joints first of all, and place them (apart from the ribs, which don't carry much meat) in a large saucepan.

Tuck in the onion and apple among the meat. Now remove the rind from the bacon, chop the meat up into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes and add that to the saucepan along with the bayleaf, a little salt and some freshly milled pepper.

Pour in the cider and the stock, bring to simmering point, skim off any bits of scum, then put a lid on and leave to simmer gently for about an hour or until tender.

When it's cooked, remove the rabbit pieces together with the bacon, apple and onion (with a draining spoon) and transfer them to the pie dish, sprinkling in the chopped prunes as well.

Now mix the flour and butter to a smooth paste, then add this mixture to the stock in the saucepan, adding it in tiny (peanut-size) pieces, stir them round over a medium heat to melt and thicken the sauce.

Sprinkle in the nutmeg and when the sauce reaches simmering point pour it over the rabbit.

Now make up the suet crust pastry.

Mix the flour, salt, pepper and suet together, then add enough cold water to form a fairly soft, elastic dough that leaves the bowl cleanly. Roll the dough out to a shape 1 inch (2.5 cm) wider than the top of the pie dish, and cut a 1 inch (2.5 cm) strip all round.

Dampen the edge of the dish and press this strip around the rim of the dish. Now dampen the rim of the pastry, and place the pastry lid in position on top, pressing well all round to seal the edges, which can be decorated with fluting if you like.

Make a small hole for steam to escape, then bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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