Mark Hix discovered this dish on a trip to Spain / Jason Lowe
Serves 4

You may think this an odd combination – but I came across this dish in Spain years ago. We've been buying some lovely Herefordshire snails recently for the restaurant, which have been going into this dish, finished off with seasonal garlic.

40g flour, plus more for dusting

12 rabbit legs (front and back)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
50g butter
100ml white wine
1 litres hot chicken stock
16 or more plump snails out of their shells
A handful of hedgerow garlic, chopped (or garlic chives from Chinese food stores)

For the pastry

225g self-raising flour
1tsp salt
85g shredded beef suet
60g butter, chilled and coarsely grated
1 medium egg beaten, to glaze

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Halve the back legs of the rabbit at the joint, then lightly season and flour all of the rabbit legs with a tablespoon of the flour. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and lightly fry them for 2 minutes on each side without colouring them too much.

In a heavy-based saucepan, cook the onions in the butter for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the rest of the flour; stir well. Gradually add the white wine, stirring to avoid any lumps; gradually add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, add the rabbit legs and lightly season. Simmer gently, covered with a lid, for about 1¼ hours or until the rabbit is tender. When the rabbit is cooked, add the snails and hedgerow garlic and re-season if necessary. The sauce should be quite thick; if not, remove the rabbit legs and simmer until it has thickened. Leave to cool then transfer to a pie dish.

Meanwhile make the pastry: mix the flour and salt with the suet and grated butter. Mix in about 150-175ml water to form a smooth dough and knead it for a minute. Roll the pastry on a floured table to a thickness of about –¾cm, then cut out the right size and shape for the pastry to cover the dish, plus an extra 2cm. If you have a pie funnel then place it in the centre of the pie.

Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg, make a slit in the centre for the pie funnel and lay the pastry on top of your pie, pressing the egg-washed sides against the rim of the dish; brush with beaten egg. Leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes; bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is golden.