Rabbit Shepherd's Pie in a Slow Cooker

Shepherd's Pie is usually made with ground beef or lamb, but we couldn't get the thought of a smoked rabbit out of our heads. And we're glad! Deeply flavored, smoked & shredded rabbit sits at the bottom of this hearty mashed potato dish, making for a shepherd's pie unlike you've had before. In fact, we're not even sure if we're allowed to call it 'Shepherd's Pie' —perhaps 'Hunter's Pie' is more appropriate...

- Ingredients - 
one whole rabbit (ours was 3 lbs)

1 cup red wine
¼ cup kosher salt
3 large sprigs rosemary
5 sprigs sage
small handful thyme
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons whole cloves

For Smoking
3 large sprigs rosemary
5 sprigs sage
small handful thyme

Mashed Potatoes
4 Yukon Gold potatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 handful flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons butter

¼ lb fresh peas, shelled
½ red onion
1 carrot

salt & pepper, to taste

- Tools - 
Weston Vacuum Sealer & Canister or Bag, for marinating the rabbit
Butcher's Twine, for tying herbs to the rabbit before smoking
Weston Smoker, for smoking the rabbit
Weston Manual Chopper, for mincing the garlic and parsley for mashed potatoes
Weston Potato Ricer, for mashing the potatoes
Weston Slow Cooker, for cooking the pie together

Step One | Brine 

Combine brine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until salt is dissolved, then allow to cool completely. Place the rabbit into a Vacuum Sealer bag (or canister), then pour in the brine. Seal and refrigerate 8-12 hours. Rabbit can be very dry, so brining first will keep the rabbit moist in the smoker later.

Step Two | Smoke

Soak wood chips for 30 minutes. Preheat your Smoker to 200 degrees F and fill the water bowl. Remove the rabbit from the marinade and rinse under cold water for 5 minutes to remove excess salt. Use Butcher Twine to tie the rosemary, sage and thyme to the rabbit. Once the smoker is preheated and the wood chips have soaked, place the rabbit onto a rack of the smoker.

Rabbit in the smoker, after 1 hour

Smoke at 200 degrees for 2 hours. Change the wood chips every half hour.

Fully smoked rabbit

Step Three | Rice Potatoes

While the rabbit smokes, boil your potatoes for 20 minutes, or until fork tender. While the potatoes boil, use your Chopper to mince the garlic and parsley. Use your Potato Ricer to mash the potatoes out of their skins. Immediately add in the butter, garlic and parsley. Mix well until butter is completely melted throughout. Set aside.

Step Four | Prepare Vegetables

Also while the rabbit smokes, shell the peas and slice the carrots.

Step Five | Slow Cook

Remove all of the rabbit meat from the bones - be sure to leave behind any gristle and tougher outer layers. Place the pieces of rabbit into the bottom of your Slow Cooker with the carrots and peas. Layer the mashed potatoes over top of the meat, then slow cook on high for four hours, or until the potatoes begin to form a crust around the edges and the rabbit meat falls apart on its own.


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