Philippa Davis gives rabbit a Moroccan twist with this wild rabbit, almond and saffron pastilla recipe. It also works well with pigeon, pheasant or partridge if you still have game to use up

This wild rabbit, almond and saffron pastilla recipe gives rabbit an unexpected Moroccan twist. Try something a little different with your game with this recipe.

For another light starter for a springtime supper, try our bass ceviche recipe.


This Moroccan/northern Spanish-type pie is delicious and a great use for rabbit, pigeon, pheasant or partridge.

When cooking with lean meat such as wild rabbit remember to keep the heat relatively low (no fast simmering), which will help prevent the meat drying out.

Serves 4 as a light lunch or starter

  • 1 whole “oven ready” wild rabbit jointed into 4
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom seeds
  • Pinch of dried chilli
  • 2cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400ml light game or chicken stock
  • 1 pinch saffron mixed with 50ml boiled water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbs finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbs finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water (if you have none, use the juice of 1⁄2 orange)
  • 1 tbs sunflower oil

To assemble

  • 4 sheets filo pastry
  • 75g butter, melted

To serve

  • 2 dsp whole almonds, skin on
  • 1 dsp butter
  • 1 tsp icing sugar plus a little extra for serving
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon plus extra for serving
  • 1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbs olive oil

To make wild rabbit, almond and saffron pastilla, first in a saucepan sear the rabbit in the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, spices and fresh ginger, sauté for a couple of minutes, season with salt and pepper then add the stock.

Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for about an hour (or until the meat is tender), moving the meat around occasionally.

Once cooked, remove the joints and leave until cool enough to handle then shred the meat from the bone. Add the saffron (with its water) to the rabbit cooking liquid and the egg. Cook gently till thickened then add the chopped parsley, coriander and orange blossom water. Stir through the shredded meat and check the seasoning.

To assemble the wild rabbit, almond and saffron pastilla, lay a sheet of filo down and brush with butter, fold in half lengthways and brush the new topside with butter. Put ¼ of the rabbit mix in the centre and rustically enclose the meat by bringing up the sides to form a roundish shape. Brush with butter top and bottom then put on a tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the other three sheets. These can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the fridge.

To serve, gently fry the almonds in a small frying pan with the butter, 1 tsp icing sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle each wild rabbit, almond and saffron pastilla with salt.

In a small bowl mix the chopped chilli, a pinch of salt, the cumin and the tomato paste with 1 tbs olive oil. Divide into four small bowls.

In a large frying pan on a medium heat fry the wild rabbit, almond and saffron pastilla on both sides in the sunflower oil till golden and piping hot in the middle (or bake in a preheated 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 oven for 20 minutes). Serve hot with almonds, a dusting of cinnamon and icing sugar and the chilli oil.