After working on my brand new blog name, design and logo I’m so relieved to finally have the time again to actually cook and blog! Today’s recipe is one I wanted to make for quite a while now as it’s inspired by my home country Belgium. We have many national dishes that people would eat throughout the year, and one of them is rabbit and prunes. I have some very lovely memories of my granddad making rabbit in a beer sauce (no prunes though) and wanted to combine his recipe with the classic Belgian recipe as well as add some elements of my own.
Now unlike Belgium it’s quite hard to find any wild game in supermarkets so you will have to potentially step outside of your comfort zone and find a market or butcher that sells it (of if you know a reliable hunter – pay them a visit). It was the first time I ate wild rabbit myself and people had warned me the flavour would be very different than what I was used to in Belgium but I absolutely loved it! Now, I’m fully aware that we live in a society with people who feel very strongly about eating meat, hunting and so on but to each their own. I myself just embrace all kinds of meals and often eat vegan or vegetarian but I also love a good freshly caught fish and some good quality local meat.
Anyway all the politics aside, it’s time to get cooking! To make this recipe I first browned the rabbit in a frying pan, then used the beer to loosen up any brown bits left in the pan and added some stock to that. I went for brown Chimay as they often sell it here in Irish off license stores. I then continued to cook it in the oven along with prunes and some great Irish herbs. As a finishing touch I served it with some potato croquettes, my absolute favourite potato side dish!
Serves: 4 people
- 4 good sized rabbit thighs (it all depends on how big the rabbit is but you’ll need at least 2 rabbits)
- 2 red onions
- 1 onion
- 250g dried prunes (stoneless)
- 2 bottles of Chimay Brown Trappist beer (2x33cl)
- 4 bay leaves
- a few sprigs of fresh Irish thyme
- 2 chicken stock cubes
- 4 carrots
- Optional: 0,25l – 0,5dl water
Roughly slice the onions and heat up butter in a frying pan. Fry the onions until translucent, then put them in your oven casserole. Meanwhile slice your prunes in half.
Now it’s time to fry your rabbit until it has a lovely brown colour. Don’t add too much butter to this part of the cooking as we want some brown bits to stick to the frying pan. Once your rabbit is cooked, place it on the onions in the casserole.
Then pour the beer with the chicken stock cubes in the frying pan and use a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Meanwhile add bay leaves and thyme to your casserole as well as the prunes.
Let the sauce cook for a couple of minutes at high heat, add 250 ml water and pour it on top of the casserole. If you notice your rabbit isn’t covered enough, gradually add more water to it until it’s nearly completely covered.
Cover the casserole (use tin foil if you don’t have a lid) and place in the oven for 1,5 hours. Meanwhile peel the carrots and cook them in the oven for 45 minutes with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil (like I did in this recipe here).
Uncover the casserole and continue to cook until you have a lovely brown sauce and the rabbit is cooked through. If you notice you’re running out of sauce, add a bit more water to it. In my case 250ml of water along with the two bottles of beer was ideal.
Once done, remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
Some people prefer to cook the rabbit the day before and then reheat it, as it will be even softer, but I found that the rabbit was already soft enough after cooking it for 2 hours.