A Shropshire Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Each pie serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

A good rabbit pie was much enjoyed by our ancestors and appeared on the grandest tables in the land. Rabbits are eaten less often today but this eighteenth-century recipe given by Mrs Glasse is also very good made with chicken.

These quantities will make two pies, one to be served hot and one cold a day or two later.

Ingredients

  • lb (¾ kg) puff pastry
  • 1 rabbit or chicken, about lb ( kg), jointed
  • 1 lb (½ kg) top leg of pork, skinned and diced
  • 1 large tin artichoke hearts (or 6 fresh)
  • cups (3 dl) red wine
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

The Forcemeat Balls

  • 2 slices streaky bacon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, thyme and a little sage
  • ¼ lb (120 g) mushrooms, finely chopped and lightly fried
  • 1 cup (120 g) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Nutmeg
  • Pepper
  • A little milk

Method

Line 2 pie dishes with the thinly rolled puff pastry, reserving enough for the lids. Put the rabbit or chicken joints in the dish and season with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Season the diced pork and lay on top of the rabbit or chicken. Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and place them on top.

Make the forcemeat by chopping the bacon finely, adding the herbs, mushrooms and breadcrumbs and mixing well. Season with a pinch of pepper and nutmeg. Mix with egg yolk and form into 10 or 12 very small balls. A little milk can be added if the mixture is too dry to roll. Dot the little balls about on the pie filling. Mix the wine with an equal quantity of water and pour in so that the meat is almost covered.

Roll out the reserved pastry to make the lids and cover, sealing tightly where the edges meet by brushing the lower edge with egg yolk. Cut a small slit in the centre of the lids. Roll out any remaining fragments of pastry and cut out 3 or 5 leaves and a rose for the centre. Paint over with the remaining egg yolk and bake in the oven at 400°F (200°C, Gas Mark 5) for 40 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for a further 40 minutes. Lightly cover the pastry with foil if it is browning too much.