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Recipe

How to make traditional Flemish rabbit with prunes and beer

This recipe for Flemish rabbit comes from the new cookbook Culinary Treasures from Around the World, which celebrates Canada 150 with recipes from diplomats posted to Canada.

This recipe also features bacon, cognac, raisins

Here's what the finished Flemish rabbit looks like. (Karyne Gagné)

If you're looking to escape the Canadian winters for a milder European climate, cooking up some Flemish rabbit may be a good place to start. 

The recipe for this traditional Belgian dish is included in the new cookbook Culinary Treasures from Around the World. The book celebrates Canada 150 through cooking by compiling recipes from foreign diplomats posted in Canada.

This recipe comes from the Belgian ambassador's chef, Eugenie Kouné.

The CBC's Aislinn May dropped by Belgian Ambassador to Canada Raoul Delcorde's kitchen to learn more about the dish for CBC Radio's All in a Day.

Belgian Ambassador to Canada Raoul Delcorde showcases Flemish rabbit, a traditional dish from his home country. (Aislinn May)

Flemish rabbit

Serves 6 to 8, 1 hour of preparation time, 2 hours of cooking time. 

Ingredients: 

  • 125 ml (½ cup) cognac.
  • 125 ml (½ cup) raisins.
  • 12 prunes, pitted.
  • 2.5 kg (5 lb) rabbit with liver.
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) salt per kg of meat.
  • Ground pepper.
  • 125 ml (½ cup) flour.
  • 125 ml (½ cup) bacon, diced small.
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) butter.
  • 3 onions (or French shallots), finely chopped.
  • 500 ml (2 cups) dark acidulous beer.
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) red wine vinegar.
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water.
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) sugar.
  • 1 pinch nutmeg.
  • 3 bay leaves.
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) cornstarch.
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) water.

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, immerse the raisins and prunes in the cognac. Add cognac (or water) as needed until the fruits are fully immersed. Marinate for 3 hours at room temperature. 
  2. Cut the rabbit into pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cover the rabbit pieces and liver with flour.
  3. In a saucepan large enough to cook the rabbit, brown the bacon in the butter for 5 minutes. 
  4. Add onions and let sweat 3-4 minutes at low temperature. 
  5. Add rabbit pieces and liver and brown on all sides.
  6. Once caramelized, add the vinegar, water, sugar, nutmeg, bay leaves and beer. 
  7. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. 
  8. Remove meat from the saucepan and set aside.
  9. Let the sauce cool down and skim the congealed fat off the surface. 
  10. Reheat the sauce and thicken with 15 ml of cornstarch diluted in 15 ml of water. 
  11. Drain the raisins and prunes and add to the mixture. Cook 5 minutes. 
  12. Return the rabbit to the sauce and reheat.
  13. Serve with boiled or mashes potatoes.