Rabbit Pie – my award winning recipe

In October 2003, the Australian National Maritime Museum ran a contest as part of its Mediterranean Tucker Festival. The aim was to show how Mediterranean cuisines have changed the Australian diet and how Australian conditions in turn have made an impact on Mediterranean food.

The challenge was to use just three ingredients plus three more. Three foods – wheat, grapes, and olives – dominate the Mediterranean palate. Thus, the competition was to develop an Australian version of a Mediterranean recipe, using all three of the Mediterranean staples – wheat, grapes and olives – in any of their forms, plus as many as three other ingredients of choice – a total of six.

There were two categories – main courses and desserts/cakes. I entered one recipe in each. There were 250 entries from all over Australia. Entries were judged by a panel of celebrity chefs.

For the Main course I entered a Rabbit Pie – which came second in the Main courses.

For the Dessert/Cake, I entered a Wild Lime Olive Cake which came first in the Desserts/Cakes section.

And my Wild Lime Olive Cake came first overall! You can find the recipe for this here …Wild Lime Olive Cake

Below is the recipe for the Rabbit Pie.

Please try them out and enjoy

Jeremy Ryland

Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash


Recipe Name:   Rabbit Pie


This is a variation of the traditional Australian “fast food” – a meat pie with some sort of beef and/or mutton filling but using the Mediterranean staples. I have made this using rabbit as rabbits having a long association with Australia as a pest and as food during the depression, although one could use lamb or beef.


Ingredients: (serves 4)

Raisins – 40gm (1/4 cup)

Olive Oil

Bread Rolls – 4x large, round, dense “panne de casa”


Rabbit – 1x, cut into pieces

Roma Tomatoes – 450gms

Chicken stock – 300mls


Seasoning – salt, black pepper, bay leaf, garlic



Cover raisins with water and soak for at least 20 minutes.

Slice Roma tomatoes in half, lengthways, coat generously with olive oil and bake or grill until soft and semi-dried.

Heat about 30mls of olive oil in a shallow non-stick pan and brown the rabbit pieces all over.

Transfer rabbit and tomatoes to a saucepan, cover with the chicken stock, season to taste and simmer for 40 minutes. Add the drained raisins and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool, and then pick all the rabbit meat off the bones. Discard bones and return meat to the sauce.


Using the bread rolls, make four bread cases by slicing the top off the bread rolls, retaining the “lids” and hollowing them out, removing all the soft bread. Brush the bread cases with olive oil, inside and out and heat in an oven. Reheat the meat sauce, then spoon into the bread cases, dividing equally among the four bread rolls. Replace the bread lid and serve.



This was the recipe as submitted. Having just six ingredients is limiting. My preferred recipe includes a chopped onion, fresh rosemary plus about 12 almonds, 12 hazelnuts and 15gms of dark chocolate in the “stew”. A 450gm can of Roma tomatoes can be used instead of the fresh, cooked ones.


Instead of the bread roll (which was allowed as the “wheat” component) I would normally make a cornmeal pastry for the pie. Make a bread dough adding polenta and olive oil to the dough. Roll out and fill, like a pastie with the rabbit stew. Brush with olive oil and bake for about 40 mins.