Peter Rabbit didn’t really enjoy his time when we got together!

I know what you are thinking, its true we all have our own little Peter Rabbits in the garden, mine had a little shock recently. Hah had there for a minute eh. I couldn’t do that, my butcher would take orders and sur eneough he had some ready for me.

When I was a young lad, many a day was spent reading Beatrix Potter. What would happen to Squirrel Nutkin who lost his tail, Johnny Town-Mouse and Timmy Willie finding themselves in each other’s back yards: the grass is not always greener?

The most beloved character of all, of course, being Peter Rabbit and the many battles he has with Mr. McGregor… Sorry to say, this time Mr. McGregor won the battle.

If you have never tried rabbit meat, please give it a go; truly not only is the meat light in flavour, comparable to chicken, but it is also almost cholesterol free, has fewer calories than other meats and less fat than all other meats. A good reason to try, for sure.

This pie is somewhat a play of my own. Pie, in my opinion, should be a meal unto itself, hence the vegetables. Try it, I know you will enjoy.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound diced rabbit
1 carrot, chopped
1 large potato chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 small onion finely chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
1 leek finely chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seed
½ cup cider
2 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons 10 per cent cream
1 tablespoon mustard

Pastry
450 grams plain flour
100 grams butter (unsalted)
100 grams lard
250 millilitres of water
Pinch of salt
1 egg (beaten)

In a large mixing bowl place two tablespoons of flour and all seasoning. Then add the diced rabbit meat and mix together thoroughly. In a large, flameproof casserole dish, place one tablespoon of olive oil; then add the meat and brown on all sides. Once complete, remove the meat from the dish and add the remaining oil, onions, leek, mushrooms and fennel seed. Fry gently until softened.

Sieve the remaining flour over the onion and mushroom mixture and stir until all traces of the flour have gone. Pour the cider into the casserole dish and stir, scraping anything that may have stuck to the bottom. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, return the meat to the casserole, cover and simmer.

Put the chopped potato and carrot in a small pot, add water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes or so; then add to your pie mixture.

After 45 minutes, remove the casserole from the heat. Pour in the cream and mustard, and blend thoroughly. Set to one side to cool.

For the pastry, place the flour, butter, lard and salt in a bowl and blend until you have a bread-crumb consistency. Slide all ingredients onto a clean kitchen counter and form a well inside (the volcano look). Pour in some water and gently cave in the mixture from the outside; then slowly mould together until you have the desired dough. Split in two and roll out (and shape) enough pastry to line the bottom and sides of an eight-inch, spring-coiled cake pan. Place all the now-cooled ingredients into this pie shell.

Roll the remaining pastry, shape it and cover the pie, pinching at the edges to prevent spillage in the oven. Once sealed, brush the beaten egg across the pie crust. Make a large hole in the centre of this top crust to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes in the oven. Bake at 350 C for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Once baked, remove the pan from the oven and place it on a large plate; remove the spring coil and serve.

I love this pie with HP sauce, but the accompaniments are, as always, your choice. Enjoy.

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