Recipe: Rabbit (or Chicken), Leek & Mushroom Pie
This moreish pie can use rabbit or chicken, but is a sensation either way.
Words: Extract from Nadia: A Seasonal Journal Photo: Rachael McKenna
Makes: 4-6 serves
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 50-60 minutes
Rabbit is a 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.
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
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
⅓ cup finely grated parmesan
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, whisked, or a few tablespoons of milk as a wash for the pastry
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 with a fork.
Prick the top a few times (to release steam) and brush 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.