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Joan Bell

Rabbits in Australia

Joan Bell

Mrs Bell’s delectable rabbit pie

In 1992 the National Museum invited people to share their stories about rabbits and rabbiting in Australia. This contribution is from Mrs Joan Bell of Exeter in the Southern Highlands of NSW, who wrote: ‘I am forwarding a recipe for rabbit pie. My grandchildren consider it quite delectable. It was very popular in my childhood.’

Rabbit pie

1 rabbit
1 onion
1 celery stick

Joint rabbit, soak in salted water for 1 hour. Stew, with water to cover, with chopped onion and celery, until rabbit is tender. Cool slightly, remove meat from bones and dice (not too small). Reserve stock.

4oz (125g) chopped bacon, fry lightly
2 carrots, finely chopped or grated
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped basil (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
½ teaspoon ground mace
salt and pepper
cornflour for thickening

Place all ingredients, including rabbit meat, into saucepan with some of the stock. Use as much stock as necessary to prevent sticking. Bring to boil and simmer a few minutes. Mix a little cornflour (try a tablespoon first) with a little water. Add to mixture in saucepan and boil a couple of minutes. Let cool.

Line a greased pie plate with shortcrust pastry (or frozen sheets, thawed - I have used puff pastry and find it very nice, especially on top). Fill with rabbit mixture. Cover with pastry and bake in a hot oven (450˚F) about 30 minutes until golden.

Serves 6

Scan of handwritten rabbit pie recipe
Rabbit pie recipe. Courtesy Joan Bell.

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Do you have a story to tell about rabbits? Let us know your rabbit memories through the fields below, or follow our People & Environment blog to join our conversation about Australians' relationships with rabbits and other animals in Australia.

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