Rabbit (or chicken), leek & mushroom pie

30 minutes

50-60 minutes

4-6

PORTIONS

Ingredients

  • 600g rabbit backstraps or free range chicken thighs (skin off) 
  • 2-3 rashers streaky free-range bacon, diced 
  • 250-300g button mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 leek (white part), diced
  • a small handful of thyme leaves 300g cavolo nero, kale, spinach or silverbeet (if using kale or cavolo nero, strip leaves from stalks), chopped 
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1⁄3 cup finely grated parmesan 
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg, whisked, or a few tablespoons of milk as a wash for the pastry

WINE MATCH:

Montford Estate 2019 Central Otago Pinot Noir

Method

A recipe from the Autumn issue of my seasonal journal, out now. Rabbit is free-range, organic meat that we have loads of and I think it tastes way better than chicken. Eating wild rabbit is turning a pest into a resource so why wouldn't you? But, of course, use chicken if you prefer. 

Pat rabbit/chicken dry with paper towels, rub with oil and season with salt. Either cook in a preheated 200°C oven for 15 minutes or brown in a large frying pan until cooked through. Set aside on a plate.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan (preferably the one in which you cooked the rabbit/chicken). Cook the bacon for a few minutes, then add mushrooms and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes until any liquid has evaporated. Tip into a bowl and keep the pan on the heat.

Add another drizzle of olive oil to the pan and cook carrots and leek with the thyme for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add greens and continue cooking for a few more minutes or until wilted. Set vegetables aside with the bacon and mushrooms.

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute, until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream, half a cup at a time, until there are no lumps. Keep cooking the sauce on a low to medium heat, whisking often, until it has thickened (this will take at least a few minutes, perhaps up to 10). Whisk in grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 220°C. Shred or chop the rabbit/chicken meat and mix into the white sauce along with the bacon and vegetables. Taste filling and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a pie dish. Place the sheet of pastry on top and push down the edges around the pie filling. Prick the top a few times (to release steam) with a fork and brush the top with egg or milk.

Place the pie in the oven to cook for 20-30 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden, and the filling is piping hot. Leave to rest for at least a few minutes before cutting into it.