English rabbit pie with suet crust from the Rookery pub, London

For the filling
  • 100g good quality smoked bacon
  • 2 English rabbits
  • 4 onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 500g tinned tomatoes
  • 500g good chicken stock
  • 50 g flour
  • 1/2 bunch each tarragon and thyme
  • 1 tbs each chilli flakes, fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tbs each black pepper, coriander seeds
For the crust
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 4g salt
  • 125g suet
  • 150ml water


1. Make the pastry - combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cling film the bowl and refrigerate

2. For the Braised Rabbit - Peel all the vegetables - slice half of them and sweat down in a pan. Once cooked down add all the spices and seeds - gently begin to caramelise the spices for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and stock, allow to bubble away for 20 minutes or so and then season with salt, a little sugar and vinegar

3. While the sauce is bubbling, take the legs and shoulders off the rabbits, then cut the main body into 4 and discard the head

4. Season the rabbit and add to sauce - bring up to the boil and then turn down to a very slow simmer - slowly braise for 4-5 hours or until the rabbit falls off the bone

5. Allow the rabbit to cool down in the sauce

6. Pick the rabbit down and re-pick to make sure all bones are discarded - place picked rabbit in a bowl with enough stock to stop the rabbit drying out.

7. Strain the sauce and reduce by a third

8. Dice and caramelise the bacon and add the bacon to the picked rabbit

9. Dice the remaining vegetables and sweat off in the bacon fat, then add the flour - cook out for a few minutes, then add the reduced sauce

10. Add the bacon and the rabbit back into the sauce - place the mix into a heavy bottom pan - Le Creuset is perfect

11. Roll out the rested pastry 1cm in thickness, place on top of the pan

12. Glaze the top with a beaten egg

13. Bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down to 165 degrees for 20 minutes - make sure the top is golden brown and the mixture is piping hot

14. Serve with seasonal greens