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zaterdag 14 juli 2012

Konijn met pruimen (rabbit with plums)

Today real Belgian classic cooking: rabbit in a sauce of red wine, onion and dried plums - or konijn met pruimen as we call it. 

It's more of a Winter's dish, but the weather permits cooking like this these days. It's actually pouring rain all day. We have these glass doors across the back of our house, facing the garden, and we can't see anything but rain splashing down. Belgian weather it is!

Ingredients for 4:
- 1 whole rabbit in pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
- bouquet garni (bay leave, thyme, rosemary, ... bound together)
- 75 grams bacon
- 12 (or more if you like) dried plums
- butter
- 75 cl red wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- Maizena express (or something the like)

How to:
Fry the rabbit pieces with the bacon in a pan. Season it with pepper and salt. Take them out of the pan and fry the onion and the garlic in the same pan. Put the fried ingredients together in a large enough pan or pot and pour in the wine and add the bouquet garni. Put on the lid and let it all simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes.
Then add the dried plums. Let them simmer along for another half hour.

Take the pot off the fire and let it stand for a few hours (the longer the better). The taste will be better.
Thicken the sauce of the rabbit with some Maizena.

It's wonderful with pears cooked in red wine scented with vanilla sugar and a cinnamon stick. 

Ingredients for 4:
- 4 pears, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 tablespoons vanilla sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 50 cl red wine
- about the same amount of water

How to:
Bring the pears and the rest of the ingredients to a boil and let them simmer until the pears are tender. They'll have taken up all the flavour and colour from the wine, cinnamon and sugar.

I served it all with fresh chips. It's so much better to make your own chips. The chips you buy in the supermarket - frozen and prefried - doesn't ever get the right taste. In Belgium we are known for our chips, and this is the right way to prepare the chips:

Ingredients for 4:
- 1 kg potatoes, peeled
- oil for frying
- salt for serving
- sauce (mayonaise, ketchup, ...)

How to:
Cut the potatoes in sticks of about half a centimeter on each side. Rinse them under some cold water.
Heat the frying pan at 140°C. Put the potato sticks in the hot oil and let them simmer for some minutes. You have to stand close to check whether they're ready (when they are tender inside (check with a fork or knife!) but still whitish in colour). Take them out and let them cool.
Heat the oil now at 175°C. Put the chips you've fried already once in the oil for the second time. This time they're supposed to get their right colour. Once they're golden brown, take them out and serve them with salt and a sauce you like.

If you do your chips this way, you'll never want the frozen kind again!


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