Tag Archive for Game

Lapin a la bière et aux pruneaux

Lapin a la bière et aux pruneaux (rabbit with beer and prunes for those of you that don’t speak French) a classic French dish. Rabbit can be a bit tough, so stewing it in a flavourful liquid like in this recipe, is a good idea. The beer tenderizes the meat as well, and makes a powerful and flavoursome sauce. As with all game, rabbit likes the addition of something sweet, so I added some prunes (which is traditional for rabbit). Nice served with braised endives.

Lapin a la Biere

Lapin a la bière et aux pruneaux (serves 2)
Adapted from “2000 recettes de la cuisine française de la gastronomie française aux spécialites regionales”

2 rabbit legs
knob of butter
6 shallots, peeled and minced
1 bottle of blond beer (for example Leffe blond)
1 bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
few sprigs of thyme
12 large and soft prunes
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan. Add the rabbit legs, fry, turning regularly, until golden. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the shallots to the pan and fry until soft and translucent. Place the rabbit legs on top, pour over the beer, crumble in the bouillon cube and add the thyme and bay leaf. Place a lid on the pan, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender (mine took a generous hour), stirring occasionally. Add the prunes about 10 minutes before serving, when you add them earlier they will break up. Adjust seasoning with pepper and salt, and serve.

Paella Valenciana

Paella Valenciana is a classic Spanish dish. In Valencia they have lots of rice dishes, but this is the most famous one. Most people think of seafood when they think about paella, but this is a so called land-paella, which contains chicken and rabbit as a protein source. In the Netherlands rabbit, especially tasty rabbit, is quite difficult to get hold of, therefore I used only chicken. Real paella rice is also difficult to get hold of in the Netherlands, so I used risotto rice (arborio), which works fine. Officially, the artichokes don’t belong in there, but the paella I ate in Spain had them, and I liked that a lot, so I added them in this recipe too. I used canned marinated artichoke hearts for ease (they are cooked already, so you drain them and add them to the dish), but you can also use frozen (not available around here) or not-marinated canned (the ones over here are very acidic and not properly cooked, that is why I use the marinated ones).
Paella is a dry dish made in a shallow, wide pan over wood fire. Ideally, after the rice is added, it shouldn’t be stirred any more. This results in quite a dry dish (not wet like risotto!), with a golden crust on the bottom. I don’t own a special paella pan, but using a large skillet instead works fine. Unfortunately, mastering the art of making paella without stirring is quite difficult, and tends to end up in having a black crust on the bottom, effectively ruining your paella. That is why I advice to stir regularly, especially at the end of cooking time, when the dish starts to be quite dry, making it prone to sticking. To make the dish real authentic, cook the rice al punto (like the Italian al dente). Enjoy!

Paella Valenciana (serves 6)
Adapted from Koken met nrc.next

500 g chicken (preferably with bone, in 6 pieces)
500 g rabbit (preferably with bone, in 6 pieces)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp pimentón de la Vera dulce
200 g broad beans
400 g runner beans, in bits of 4 cm
200 g artichoke hearts
1,4 l hot chicken stock
1 pinch saffron (about 20 threads), soaked in 2 tbsp hot water
400 g paella rice
salt and pepper

Sprinkle chicken and rabbit with salt. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Fry the meat in about 7 minutes brown on all sides.
Turn the heat down and add the garlic, tomatoes and pimenton. Fry while stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the broad beans, runner beans and artichoke hearts. Pour the stock into the pan, bring to the boil and leave to bubble for 10 minutes (without lid).
Add the saffron water. Sprinkle the rice into the pan and stir so that it is distributed evenly around the meat and vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil again and leave to cook for another 10 minutes (without lid). Turn the heat down and let cook for another 8 minutes. When it really gets too dry, add a splash of water. Take from the heat and cover with a clean tea towel, leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Quails with thyme and orange

Another very delicious wintery dish. Game can be difficult to prepare, but I find that quail is the easiest game bird to prepare. And with this recipe it becomes almost impossible to do it wrong. By cooking the birds covered they stay nice and moist, the acid from the orange makes the birds even more tender and adds a note of freshness, and the fruity sweetness of the raisins and orange enhance the sweet taste of the quail meat beautifully. The alcohol gives the dish a nice kick and the thyme mellows everything. And all the tastes come together in the delicious sauce that forms in the baking dish.

It is sometimes suggested to serve 2 quails per person, but I think that 1 is enough. Good accompaniments are potato puree and sauteed creamed savoy cabbage or glazed carrots.


Quails with thyme and orange (serving 4)
Adapted slightly from “The Conran Cookbook”

a small handful of raisins
30 ml eau-de-vie (but whiskey or cognac work well too)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 quails (cleaned completely)
30 g butter
2 strips of orange zest
salt and pepper
juice of 1 orange

Soak the raisins in the alcohol until plump.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Push a couple of raisins and a sprig of thyme inside each quail.
Melt the butter in an oven-proof dish on the stovetop. When the butter starts to brown, put in the birds and brown them all over. Add the orange zest and remaining raisins and season the birds generously with salt and pepper.
Cover the dish (with a lid or aluminium foil), place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Add the orange juice, cover the dish up again and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Turn up the oven to 220C. Add the alcohol to the dish, stir all the juices together and return to the oven (uncovered) to cook for another 5-10 minutes. This will emulsify the juices and crisp up the skins of the quails a little. As with all meats and birds, leave to rest for 5-10 minutes before eating to ensure a tender result.