There’s a lot to be said for a good tart or pie
Among the pies and pastries that arrive on our table, one of my favourites is rabbit pie. Having enjoyed this delicacy in several countries, I can assure you that the Cyprus rabbit is as good as any. Being “tame”, it doesn’t have the gamey flavour of a wild rabbit or hare, but the meat is plentiful and delicious. Rabbit portions can be served in many ways.
Start by dismembering the animal, into five or six parts, according to size. Your butcher will certainly do this, but this can sometimes be a bit haphazard resulting in lopsided portions, so you may prefer doing it yourself. You want to end up with two back legs; the saddle, which may be cut into two pieces, or four if it is a large rabbit; and the chest and front legs (which is not a very meaty part). You will be left with some ribs and other odd bones, which can be set aside, along with the liver (very tasty on its own), the head, kidneys and heart, which may be cooked with a casserole or used for stock.
Use what you want and freeze the rest. If you want a tender rabbit, buy a small young one. The big ones can be tough, needing longer cooking, but make an excellent casserole. 11. Heat the stock until bubbling. 12. Mix the corn flour and water and swirl into the hot stock to thicken. Taste for flavour and season if necessary. 13. Spoon about a cupful of stock into the rabbit mixture and simmer. 14. Roll out the pastry in two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. 15. Put the larger piece of pastry in the base of the pie dish. Trim. 16. Spoon in the rabbit mixture and cover with the other piece of pastry. 17. Brush with beaten egg, or milk, and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.
I find this pie is always enjoyed, making a change from pies made with chunks of meat. The thickened stock makes a good sauce. I put a spot of Muscat in it and a little more salt and pepper and reduce it by about a third.
What better than MASH to go with the pie and gravy? Root vegetables mashed with potato, perhaps. Or, some swede, a turnip, a carrot or two or celeriac – any one, or a couple of these make great mash.