Jamie Oliver may have said he doesn’t like to get all soppy, but the first time we made his leek and rabbit pie, the filling wept all over the pastry crust and our oven. His instructions called for cooking both leeks and rosemary along with the rabbit pieces for quite a while in quite a bit of sauce which, as Michelle expected it would, resulted in mushy leeks and unappetizingly gray herbs. Still, the cider-flavored dish had promise and seemed a wonderful way to use up some of the beautiful summer vegetables, including baby leeks, that we’ve been getting in our CSA basket and buying at the farmers’ markets.
We bought another rabbit from a local farmer and, on a second go, added the veg and herbs at a much later stage, resulting in what we felt was a much more pleasant (and way less mushy) pie. We also opted for a biscuit topping which soaked up more of the delicious sauce.
Overall we believe we made quite a few improvements to Jamie’s pie—but we’re not going to go on and on about it, lest you think us soppy.
LEEK AND RABBIT POT PIE
- 4 slices bacon, chopped into lardons
- Olive oil
- 1 small or medium onion, sliced thin
- 2 TB butter
- 3 heaping TB flour
- 1 rabbit, skinned and cut into pieces
- 2-1/2 c. chicken stock
- 2 c. hard cider
- 1 sprig rosemary, 2 bay leaves and several sprigs of parsley wrapped in cheesecloth and tied
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 5 or 6 small new potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 6 small or 4 large leeks, cleaned and sliced thin
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 or 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 c. peas (partially cooked if fresh)
- 2 TB Dijon mustard (we used half grainy and half smooth)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 1 or 2 TB of parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Cook bacon and a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. After bacon begins to color slightly, add onion. Reduce heat a bit and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crispy and onions are soft.
Add butter. When butter is melted, add flour. Cook for a minute or two, stirring.
Add rabbit, stock, cider and herb bag. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until meat falls off the bones, about 1-1/2 hours.
While meat is cooking, boil the carrots and potatoes (separately) in salted water. You want them to remain slightly undercooked. Drain and shock with cold water, then set aside.
Remove and discard herb bag. With a slotted spoon, remove meat and put on a platter or cutting board to cool.
While meat is cooling, sauté leeks in a bit of olive oil in a skillet. After a few minutes, add garlic and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. You want the leeks to be cooked, but still maintain their shape and not turn to mush.
Add leek/garlic mixture, carrots, potatoes and peas to the broth.
Remove rabbit meat from bones and shred. Watch for tiny bones, of which there are many, particularly in the rib cage area. Add the shredded meat to the broth.
Add remaining ingredients to broth. Taste for seasoning.
Depending on the size of the rabbit, there should be around 8 or 9 cups of filling. You can leave in the Dutch oven, transfer to a large baking dish or divide among smaller baking dishes or ramekins.
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 t. baking soda
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 stick (8 TB) chilled butter, cut into small squares
- 3/4 c. cold buttermilk (possibly more)
Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Toss with a fork. Add butter and mix in with a pastry cutter (or with your fingers) until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Pour in buttermilk. Combine with a wooden spoon. If too dry, add a bit more buttermilk.
Turn the mixture out onto a floured piece of waxed paper. Knead just a few times. Pat into a circle about 1/2″ high.
Cut biscuits out with a round cutter. Use a 2-1/2″ or 3″ cutter to make about 8 biscuits. (If making small pies, cut the dough slightly smaller than the size of the baking dishes.) Gather up and pat out again if desired and cut more biscuits.
Assembly and Baking:
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Arrange biscuit rounds over the pie filling. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until biscuits are browned and filling is fully heated.