Rabbit Pie with Cider and Bacon

There’s little more comforting than a pie, I promise; and this rabbit pie is something else. A lot of people have a problem with eating rabbit, well the thought of doing it anyway. I tend to find when people actually taste it they tend to change their minds rather quickly. Rabbit is a very tasty meat and is pretty much the most ‘entry level’ game you’re going to find. Whereas other wild meat can be quite strong in its flavour, rabbit is much more subtle.

rabbit pie with cider and bacon

There’s one common problem when it comes to cooking rabbit; it dries out pretty easily. Thankfully, this rabbit pie has a delicious cider and bacon sauce and the meat is slow cooked to perfection. Cooking on the bone gives you so much more flavour than off and helps you keep the meat wonderful and juicy.

Once you’ve managed to achieve the perfect rabbit pie filling, you need to worry about the pastry. For this, I’ve gone for a short and decadent pastry made with a mixture of butter and lard. This combination provides the perfect flavour and texture for all sorts of fillings, from rabbit and chicken to mincemeat at Christmas.

Notes on Cooking

Getting hold of rabbit isn’t always easy depending on where you live in the world. The one I got was frozen and whole (skinned and gutted). If getting from a butcher, they’ll be able to joint it for you. Don’t worry if you can’t get this done though as the process is extremely simple. Just have a quick look on YouTube and you’ll be butchering in no time. If you can’t get hold of rabbit, chicken would also work really well in this recipe.

If you can’t get lard for the shortcrust pastry, just replace it with more butter. It will still be great.


Rabbit Pie with Cider and Bacon
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins

Rabbit is available year round and is a great and tasty change. Slow cook with cider and bacon before packaging in the perfect crispy pie crust. 

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: British, French
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 560 kcal
Author: Marbling and Marrow
Shortcrust Pastry
  • 340 g plain flour
  • 90 g unsalted butter cold and cut into small cubes
  • 85 g lard cold and cut into small cubes
  • 5 - 6 tbsp ice cold water
Rabbit Filling
  • 200 g streaky bacon sliced
  • 3 tbsp lard or neutral oil
  • 1 whole rabbit skinned, gutted and jointed
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 leek finely sliced
  • 1 apple finely diced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 150 mL apple cider
  • 500 mL chicken or veal stock
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
Assembling the Rabbit Pie
  • 1 whole egg beaten
Shortcrust Pastry
  1. Rub the butter and lard into the flour with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  2. Slowly add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, stirring with a knife. When the dough comes together to form a ball, stop adding water. 

  3. Wrap the pastry in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Rabbit Filling
  1. Fry the bacon over medium-high heat until beginning to crisp, remove at set aside. 

  2. While the bacon is cooking take the rabbit and mix with 2 tbsp of the flour, and season with salt. 

  3. In the same pan as the bacon, brown the rabbit in 2 tbsp of the lard over medium-high heat. Do this in batches to avoid crowding the pan and dropping the temperature too much. Set aside.

  4. Add the leek, apple and fennel seeds to the pan with the remaining lard and fry over a low temperature for around 10 minutes, until the onion is beginning to become translucent. 

  5. Add 2 tbsp of flour and cook off for around 2 minutes.

  6. Add the cider and stock and bring to a simmer. Make sure to scrape anything off the bottom of the pan from frying the meat to ensure maximum flavour.

  7. Add the meat back into the pan and simmer for 45 minutes over low heat, until the rabbit meat is tender.

  8. Remove the rabbit from the sauce, and strip the meat from the bones. Return the sauce to high heat and reduce by two-thirds. 

  9. Whisk the mustard into the sauce and season to taste. 

Assembling the Rabbit Pie
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.

  2. Take two-thirds of the pastry and roll out on a well-floured surface to a thickness of about 3 mm. 

  3. Line your pie dish (around 20 cm diameter) with the pastry. You can use a small ball of pastry to help you push it into the corners of the dish. Trim the sides, leaving some pastry to attach the lid.

  4. Roll out the remaining third of pastry to the same thickness, ensuring that it is large enough to cover the top of the pie. 

  5. Fill the pie dish, before brushing the edges of the pie with the beaten egg. 

  6. Cover the pie with the lid, and press the edges together. Squeezing with the thumb and forefinger around the edge produces a nice crimping effect. Trim any excess pastry, and cut a hole in the centre of the lid to allow steam to escape, about 1 cm. 

  7. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining egg wash. You can use any scraps of pastry to make some decorations. 

  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown all over. 

  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating. 

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