Flemish Rabbit with Prunes

December doesn’t exactly get cold in Texas. This is the time of year when our trees turn gold, orange, and red–long after the trees back home have already dropped their leaves–Oh look, here come the Leaf Blower Men now, right on time! *groan*

Our Christmas tree is up, but our windows have been open all week. We even have a giant Rockafeller Square-like tree slash Ice Rink…inside the Galleria Mall.

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The holidays are just different here, ok? It’s weird. I miss snow.

Still, this is the time that The Hubs and I can’t help but bring out our favorite stew recipes. We’ve been craving them all year, and we just can’t wait any longer. Football is rounding down, and so are our busy work schedules. We’ve finished all the fall finales of our shows, and there’s nothing else to watch but movies and HGTV marathons. It’s stew time, baby.

Two things happened almost simultaneously last week:  I had a conversation in the AdultBooklr chat about rabbit stew, and a Belgian friend spoke about the differences in wine vs beer in that sort of dish. Oh man it sounded so good! Then, a few days later, The Hubs came home and mentioned his store had brought in rabbit, and did I want some? ABSOLUTELY! I’ve never cooked with rabbit, but I’d had the recipe stuck in my head and now was the perfect time to try it!

I break down whole chickens a few times a year, and turkeys really aren’t that different. But rabbit is, quite literally, a whole different animal. I watched a few videos on YouTube, and got to work. It’s always so much fun learning something new…and of course, cracking a few bones in the process. The only part I really had trouble with was the chest–I’m still not sure how to get the rib meat separated from the rib bones. It seemed like every video I watched had a different suggestion, and none really worked for me. If anyone has a great plan of attack–let me know!

The stew turned out amazing, gave more yield than I would have thought for such a tiny animal….and IT REALLY DID TASTE LIKE CHICKEN. OR maybe goose, it was a bit gamier. I’ll definitely make this again. I have adjusted the original recipe for American measurements, and changed the potato suggestion.

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Flemish Rabbit with Prunes

Adapted from Fans of Flanders

  • 1 rabbit of about 1.5 pounds, chopped in pieces
  • 32 oz of dark beer or cherry beer
  • 1 cup of dried prunes
  • 2 big onions, chopped in big pieces
  • ½ litre of cooking stock for game animals (I used beef)
  • ½ a tablespoon of mustard
  • Herbs (I used a poultry mix, you could use thyme, rosemary, sage)
  • 1/4 cup of butter and some oil
  • Flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • Dried herbs of your choice (I used dill, Italian seasoning)

Fill a bowl with warm water and soak the dried prunes in it, set aside.

In a flat dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, dried herbs. Lightly dust rabbit pieces. Heat a dutch oven over med-high heat with a little oil and butter. Add rabbit, brown on both sides. Remove to plate.

Add the onions to the fat still in the pot, fry them until turning soft and brown and then drown them with half of the beer. Be sure to scrape up the good stuff off the bottom of the pan as it sizzles! Add the rabbit back to the pot, along with the rest of the beer and stock. Add herbs and mustard, season with salt and pepper (but be careful not to do too much, as this will reduce). Let simmer for 45 minutes.

Add prunes, taste for seasoning, and let simmer for another 30 min.

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Not exactly the prettiest picture…but it’s stew!

The original recipe called for plain boiled potatoes. I didn’t realize that ahead of time, I thought the potatoes were going in the stew–so I ended up just mashing them after the fact. I have excluded them from my recipe above. Next time, I will roast baby potatoes in garlic, butter, and herbs. They will accompany this much better. The mashed were just too soft to hold such a thick stew, especially since the rabbit is served bone-in.

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