These crumbly warm pulled rabbit pies are what comfort food tastes like! Filled with slow cooked rabbit, soft potatoes, caramelised onions and a touch of cheddar cheese.
One of Malta’s national dish is rabbit! We like it stewed, fried, baked or as a spaghetti sauce. However, lately I have been testing more recipes with this protein as it’s extremely versatile, like this crispy fried rabbit, I have made earlier this year. These pies here are an ideal snack or meal to make with slow cooked rabbit, however you can also make them with any leftover rabbit you have! Just make sure to clean the rabbit properly by removing all the bones and shredding the meat.
What is in these pulled rabbit pies?
These pies are filled with incredible wholesome ingredients. Of course, the main star of these pies is the pulled rabbit, which is gently braised so that it’s fork tender. In addition, there are chopped potatoes – which I cook while the rabbit is braising, – caramelised onions, and a touch of grated cheddar cheese! These are the ultimate savoury pies.
How to braise the rabbit?
In a dutch oven, I gently fry the rabbit until golden on both sides for about 5 minutes. Then, I add the vegetable stock, cover the pot and let cook on medium heat for about 1 hour until the meat is fork tender. The timing might vary depending of how thick your rabbit is. Halfway through the braising of the rabbit, I add the chopped potatoes and also create a thick gravy from all the beautiful delicious juices.
How to caramelise the onions?
To caramelise the onions, the most important thing that you need is patience. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the sliced onions and season with salt. Let the onions cook over medium heat. Do not stir until they start browning. Stir and let them cook until they are all browned and caramelised. Once done, let cool and set aside until ready to use.
How to make the classic pie dough?
For these hand pies, I opted to go with a classic pie dough as I adore how sturdy yet crumbly this type of dough gets. Besides, this dough is so easy to make that it was a no brainer.
To get a successful pie dough, the secret is to keep everything really cold and to work as fast as you can. We don’t want the butter to melt while we’re forming and shaping the dough. If this happens, we will loose the flakiness of the dough. Therefore, while making this dough, make sure to use your hands the least as possible and to work on a cold surface, such as your kitchen countertop. Another important tip: Please leave the dough to rest for at least an hour before working with it! This definitely makes a huge difference on the outcome of your baked goods.
The recipe for this pie dough can be used also for a full sized pie and not just for these mini ones.
Can I prepare the pies in advance?
Most definitely, you can prepare the pies beforehand! You can prepare the dough a day before and store it in the fridge. All of the ingredients also can be prepped in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to assemble.
How to store these hand pies?
Uncooked pies can be stored in the freezer. Whilst, cooked pies can be stored in the fridge or in the freezer. Pies in the fridge are best kept in an airtight container for not more than 3 days. Whereas, pies stored in the freezer can be stored for about 2 months.
Other hand pie recipes?
Pulled Rabbit Pies
- 500 g plain flour
- 250 g cold butter diced
- 150 ml cold water
- 1 tsp salt
- 500 g rabbit thighs or shoulders
- 500 ml vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 large white onion
- 200 g potatoes diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g cheddar cheese grated
- Egg wash – 1 egg + milk
- In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt.
- Add the cubed cold butter and work into the flour. You can either use a pastry cutter or work with your hands. If you’re using your hands, you have to work fast so as not to melt the butter. Rub in all the butter in the flour until you have a coarse mixture with small pebbles of butter. This process can be also done in a food processor.
- Slowly start adding a tablespoon at a time of cold water, while forming a smooth dough. Your dough might require less or more water.
- Once the dough is ready, wrap into some cling film and store in the fridge for at least half an hour.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the sliced onions and season with salt. Let the onions cook over medium heat. Do not stir until they start browning. Stir and let them cook until they are all browned and caramelised. Once done, let cool and set aside until ready to use.
- In a dutch oven, add the olive oil and gently fry the rabbit until golden on both sides. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, cover the pot and let cook on medium heat for about 1 hour until the meat is fork tender.
- Halfway through the cooking, add the chopped potatoes to the dutch oven. Let everything cook until tender.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- On a floured surface open the pie dough into a large circle of about 5mm thickness. With a small plate or a medium sized cutter, cut 12cm circles.
- Place about 2 tbsps of the pulled rabbit, 1 tsp cheese, 1 tsp caramelised onions and a couple of potatoes in the middle of the circle. Make sure to leave space around the edges of the filling. With a pastry brush, paint the edges of the dough around the filling with the egg wash. This will help you achieve a secure closing of the pies. Fold over the other half of the dough and press the ends together around the filling with your finger. You can either leave them as such or else press them down further with a fork.
- Place the pies on the lined baking tray and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This step helps the dough to remain closed while baking, although no worries if some of the juices ooze out while baking.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C or 430°F.**
- Once ready to bake, brush the top and sides of the pies with the egg wash. On the top part of the pies, slit two small cuts with a sharp knife.
- Bake the pies for about 20 minutes or until they have a nice golden brown colour. Let the pies cool slightly before serving and enjoy!
- You can freeze these pies before or after cooking.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. Please also rate this recipe by double clicking on the stars below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
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