Wild rabbit & leek turnover with piccalilli

Starters and soups

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 24 hours
  • Cooking time: 2 hours


For the rough puff pastry

  • 900g/1lb 15oz white bread flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 665g/1lb 7oz unsalted butter, diced, softened at room temperature
  • 12g/½ oz salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugarr
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 210ml/7½fl oz water

For the piccalilli

  • 400ml/14¼fl oz white wine vinegar, preferably chardonnay
  • 200ml/7fl oz water
  • 120g/4½ oz sugar
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 16 baby carrots, peeled, tops removed
  • 16 cauliflower florets
  • 200g/7¼ oz cucumber, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced into long strips

For the leek and onion stuffing

  • knob of butter
  • 100g/3½ oz leek, white part only, finely shredded
  • 30g/1¼ oz onion, peeled, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 60g/2¼ oz whipping cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh chives

For the dressing

  • 200ml/7¼fl oz piccalilli juices, see above
  • ½ tsp potato flour, mixed with ½ tsp water

For the turnover

  • 2 x 300g/10½ oz rabbit saddles
  • salt and white pepper
  • 4 slices ham, preferably Cumbrian
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

To serve

  • 50g/1¾ oz watercress leaves, preferably organic


The pastry can be made a few days in advance. The piccalilli needs to be made the day before.

For the rough puff pastry:

  1. For the rough puff pastry, blend the flour and 165g/5¾ oz of the butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the remaining butter and blend for 2-3 minutes, or until just combined.
  2. Mix the salt, sugar, lemon juice and water together in a bowl. With the motor running, slowly add the water mixture to the flour mixture until the mixture just comes together as a dough.
  3. Tip the dough out onto a work surface and knead lightly for 2-3 minutes. Shape the pastry into a flat square, wrap in cling film and set aside to rest in the fridge overnight.
  4. Roll the rested dough out on a lightly-floured work surface into a large rectangle 1cm/½in thick. Fold the top and bottom of the rectangle into the centre, folding the pastry into a third of its size.
  5. Turn the pastry a quarter-turn clockwise and carefully roll out again into the same size rectangle as the one you started with. Fold the top and bottom of the rectangle into the centre, folding the pastry into a third of its size. Repeat the turning, rolling and folding process 2 more times.

For the piccalilli:

  1. For the piccalilli, heat the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan until boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the English mustard and turmeric. Set aside.
  2. Cook the carrots and cauliflower florets in a saucepan of boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then refresh in a bowl of iced water and drain again.
  3. Mix the carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, spring onions and vinegar mixture together in a bowl. Cover and set aside to marinade for one day.

For the leek and onion stuffing:

  1. For the leek and onion stuffing, melt the butter in a frying pan until foaming, add the leek and onion and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic, cream, salt and pepper and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Stir in the chives.

For the dressing:

  1. For the dressing, drain 200ml/7¼fl oz of the piccalilli liquid and heat in a saucepan until boiling. Whisk in the potato flour mixture. Cool, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve and set aside to chill in the fridge.

For the turnover:

  1. For the turnover, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Using a sharp knife, remove the loins from the rabbit saddles and cut each loin in half.
  3. Season each loin piece to taste, with salt and white pepper. Spoon some of the leek and onion stuffing mixture onto each piece of rabbit loin and wrap in a slice of ham.
  4. Roll the puff pastry out to ½cm/¼in thick and cut out 4 x 11cm/4½in square pieces. Place the wrapped rabbit loin into the middle of each piece of puff pastry and brush the edges with a little beaten egg.
  5. Fold the pastry over, pinch the sides together, being careful not to create any air pockets, cut away any excess pastry, and seal the sides together with the rear side of a fork.
  6. With a sharp knife, make three small cuts on the top of each turnover and place onto the baking tray. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6.
  7. Brush each turnover with a little beaten egg and bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  8. To serve, place 2 spoonfuls of piccalilli onto the left-hand side of each of 4 serving plates and spoon a little of the dressing alongside the piccalilli. Place a turnover onto each plate and garnish with watercress.