Rabbit pie

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Rabbit pie
A meat pie made with rabbit and chicken
Type Savoury pie
Main ingredients rabbit, onions, celery and carrots
Cookbook: Rabbit pie  Media: Rabbit pie

Rabbit pie is a game pie consisting of rabbit meat in a gravy with other ingredients (typically onions, celery and carrots) enclosed in a pastry crust.[1] Rabbit pie is part of traditional American and English cuisine.[2] It has recently found renewed popularity.[3] The proverb "first catch your hare", with a similar meaning to "don't count your chickens before they're hatched," literally refers to the requirement to obtain a rabbit before making a rabbit pie or stew.[4]


Wild rabbit, as opposed to farmed, is most often used as it is easily and affordably obtained (and is described as more flavorsome).[5]

Along with rabbit meat, ingredients of the filling of a rabbit pie typically include onions, celery and carrots.[6][7][8] Other ingredients may include prunes,[8][9] bacon[7][8] and cider.[6][7] Australian recipes for rabbit pie sometimes include the food paste Vegemite as an ingredient.[10]


Traditionally rabbit pie was predominantly a rural dish enjoyed by country dwellers who had easy access to wild rabbits, which were viewed by landowners as a pest.

Rabbit pie was a staple dish of the American pioneers.[11]

Thanks to the increasing demand for wild and fresh ingredients, rabbit pie is often seen on the menus of fashionable restaurants and Gastropubs.[12]

Cultural references[edit]

Two huge rabbit pies are part of traditional Easter celebrations in the village of Hallaton, Leicestershire, England.[13]

In Beatrix Potter's children's book The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the title character's father was made into rabbit pie.[14]

"To make a rabbit pie, first catch your rabbit"[edit]

The expression "first catch your rabbit" or "first get the rabbit" (similar in meaning to the proverb don't count your chickens before they're hatched) is used to caution against undue reliance on an event or situation that has not yet happened.[15][16][17] It is often described as being the pragmatic first line of (possibly apocryphal) recipe for rabbit pie or rabbit stew by Isabella Beeton.[18] The phrase has also been attributed to a recipe for rabbit pie or hare pie by Hannah Glasse.[19][20] The expression is possibly much older. It has been described as an African American saying,[21] and as a Latin proverb.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Albala, Ken (2010). The lost art of real cooking : rediscovering the pleasures of traditional food, one recipe at a time. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-399-53588-8. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Aunt Chloe (May 1888). Louisa, Knapp, ed. "The Practical Housekeeper". The Ladies' Home Journal (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Cyrus H. K. Curtis) V (6). Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Gates, Stefan (2005). Gastronaut : adventures in food for the romantic, the foolhardy, and the brave. Orlando: Harcourt. pp. 123–124. ISBN 0-15-603097-7. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  4. ^ The Facts on File: dictionary of proverbs, Martin H. Manser, p. 88
  5. ^ BBC Food -
  6. ^ a b Smith, Liz. "BBC—Food—Recipes—Rabbit pie". A Taste of my Life. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Stephanie Alexander (October 18, 2011). "Mary's rabbit pie". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c Delia Smith. "Old-English Rabbit Pie". Delia Online. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant (11 February 2009). "The Cook and the Chef—Rabbit Pie". The Cook and the Chef. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Mason, Anne (June 2, 1959). "Make a Savoury Pie for Dinner". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Dame Delicacies Draw Hundreds to Old Church". The News and Courier. November 4, 1975. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Lutrario, Joe (22 November 2007). "Dining Royal style". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Jensen, Gregory (April 5, 1958). "Rabbit Pie and Kisses—England's Easter Customs Strange". Toledo Blade (Block Communications). Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Art: Peter's Miss Potter". TIME. January 24, 1944. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Editorial—Rabbit Pie". The Pittsburgh Press. November 29, 1931. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Editorial - First Get the Rabbit". The Palm Beach Post. March 6, 1936. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  17. ^ Bernhard, Andrew (March 31, 1980). "Bernhard says, "First Catch Your Rabbit..."". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Block Communications). Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Withey, Sally (April 7, 2010). "Best of Norfolk—Rabbit stew with prunes, cider and celery". Norfolk Magazine (Eastern Daily Press). Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  19. ^ Partridge, Eric (1986). A dictionary of catch phrases. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-05916-9. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  20. ^ Max Watman (December 24, 2011). "The Blood In the Meadow". The Wall Street Journal (News Corporation). Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  21. ^ Timothy Earl Fulop and Albert J. Raboteau (1997). African-American religion. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-91459-8. 
  22. ^ Manser, Martin (2007). The Facts on File dictionary of proverbs. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved 21 January 2012.