Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Rabbit-in-a-Hat Pot Pie

Mains from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

The expression, to pull a rabbit out of a hat has, because of its longstanding link to the art of magic, come to mean the act of producing something surprising. And our rabbit and rutabaga pot-pie with a buttery golden crust qualifies as such.

serves 4 to 6

  • 1 (2 - 2½ lb) rabbit, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, washed well and chopped separately
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ lb rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • ½ lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter blended with 1½ Tbsp flour
  • 1 lb frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg yolk stirred with 1 Tbsp water

  • 1

    Season rabbit and lightly coat with 1 Tbsp flour. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large heavy skillet then brown rabbit, in batches, adding more oil if needed, until golden. Set aside. Add a little more oil to skillet and stir in green parts of leek, garlic, and thyme. Cook 3 minutes. Stir in wine and simmer until almost reduced. Return rabbit to skillet. Add stock and 1½ cups water. Bring to a simmer then cook, covered, 40 minutes. Remove meat and set aside.

  • 2

    Strain cooking liquid into a medium saucepan discarding the solids. Add rutabaga, potatoes, and leek whites to the cooking liquid and simmer until just tender and liquid is reduced by almost half, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • 3

    Meanwhile, debone rabbit and keep covered in a 1½ to 2 qt baking dish. When vegetables are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and mix them into the rabbit. Whisk butter/flour paste into broth and simmer just until slightly thickened. Pour over rabbit and vegetables and cool.

  • 4

    Cut a round of pastry about 2 inches larger than the top of the baking dish and cut a few vents in it. Paint the edge of the dish with eggwash and lay the crust over, pressing gently to adhere. Brush pastry with yolk mixture. Chill at least 30 minutes.

  • 5

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 325°F and bake until filling is hot and pastry is golden, about 35 minutes longer. (Check the temperature with a knife inserted deep into the filling through a vent. If it’s hot at the tip, the pie is ready.)