Tag Archives: prunes

Braised Rabbit with red wine, prunes and thyme

 I’m sure you know that Easter is on the way (Catholic falls on April 5 and Orthodox April 12), and you’re probably planning what to cook, or searching your notes with traditional recipes. I think some of you have a special main course recipe for this occasion, or may be it’s a wide range of recipes. What will you choose this year? An elegant dish or simple&casual? I think, with spring bringing nice and pretty weather, that you’re likely to be in the mood for something hearty and light! 🙂Braised Rabbit I’ve always been partial to rabbit; when I’m visiting my parents in Russia I’m always pleased to eat a rabbit stewed in sour cream. It’s always tender and delicious, of course because it’s prepared by my mom. 😀 Today recipe is elegant and great for a special dinner! I’d like you to try rabbit with prunes and thyme, braised in red wine. It requires few ingredients to be transformed into a flavoursome meal! Enjoy!Braised Rabbit with prunes, juniper berries and thyme

Braised Rabbit with red wine, prunes and thyme

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients
1 rabbit, 1.3-1.5kg
water
1-2 tsp apple or wine vinegar, optional
2 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
1-2 garlic clove, peeled, chopped
5-6 shallots or 1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 black peppercorns, optional
4-5 juniper berries
12-15 prunes, pitted
4 springs thyme or 1 tsp dried
150ml dry red wine
100ml or more hot water, if needed
sea salt and white pepper to taste
Garnish
boiled or roasted potatoes
sour cream
Preparation method
  1. Joint the rabbit, wash it and put in a large bowl, fully cover the meat with water, add vinegar if using, then cover with a wrap and leave to marinate for 1-3 hours. It helps to make rabbit meat more tender and get rid of any unpleasant smell.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottom pan on a medium-high heat.  Add the rabbit pieces and brown each side for 6-8 minutes or until golden colour. Take out the rabbit pieces and place aside. Don’t clean the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add onions, garlic, peppercorns (if using), juniper berries, bay leaf, some thyme leaves and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until onion have softened. Add rabbit, pour over wine and scrape up the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Fold in prunes and remaining thyme. Season to taste. The liquid should come half way up the rabbit pieces. So, add some water, if needed. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid (keep a small slit) and braise the rabbit for 45 minutes. Now turn the rabbit pieces on the other side, adjust the seasoning, again cover the pan with a lid and braise for further 40-45 minutes. The rabbit should be easily pulling off the bone.
  5. Serve with sliced boiled/roasted potatoes, or rice. Add a tablespoon of sour creme, if desired.

Prune Cookies

It’s autumn somewhere.. and time to harvest or buy beautiful apples, plums and pumpkins, make tasty preserves, and bake! Perhaps you will be surprised but I wish tomorrow (or even a whole month) would be grey and cheerless here!  W I mean myself and some of my friends got a bit tired from burning sun this summer, and few days back a little miracle happened here – it was raining! Yay! But only for an hour or so. 😀 To be honest, when I lived in my hometown I didn’t like the beginning of autumn; rains were too often, boots and trousers caked with mud was a normal thing!
 Autumn here is a totally different season! October is the beginning of a large influx of tourists amazing weather in Dubai, temperature goes down and days become cooler, people become happier; it’s a season of barbecue in parks, outdoor cafes and long walks. Not to mention the fact that I’m going to bake more cakes and pies, and fill my home and blog with quintessential autumn flavours. 🙂
This cookies recipe is super easy, tasty and suits autumn mood! The main secret ingredient is prunes (dried plums) soaked in a cognac, and I can easily say that these cookies become my favourite!
Prune cookies with chocolate

Prune Cookies

You can use dark chocolate with hazelnuts or plain milk chocolate, or even omit it.
Ingredients
8-9 prunes
50ml cognac
50-60ml water
1 Tbsp brown or muscovado sugar
50g butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp brown or dark muscovado sugar
1 egg
100g flour
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
40g dark chocolate (70-80% cacao), roughly chopped
40g roasted walnuts, finely chopped, optional
Method
  • Into small pan add prunes, sugar and water. Bring to boil, add cognac and boil for 5-7 minutes more. Remove from the hob and let cool. Roughly chop prunes.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar, then mix in egg. Add 2 tsp syrup from prunes.
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the mixture into batter and combine.
  • Carefully fold into batter dark chocolate, nuts and chopped prunes (without syrup).
  • Bake in preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes.
Enjoy!
The recipe adapted from Russina tv-show “Edim doma”
Prune_cookies

Slow-cooked beef with fruits

  In Russian language, we have one word “tomlenie”, which is similar to the word “stewing”, but has a significant distinction. Tomlenie is a slow-cooking process of meat, fish or vegetables in Russian petch (oven/stove, have a look at the pictures of traditional Russian petch here and here).  
  Nowadays traditional Russian ovens can be found only in out-of-the-way places (villages and provinces, located in the remotest depths of the country).
  It’s considered that, slow-cooking in the common oven is close to the “tomlenie” process, but the real taste and aroma of dishes prepared in Russian petch unfortunately couldn’t be done anywhere else.

Slow-cooked meat

Let’s try to prepare the closest dish.
First of all, we need a clay pot with a lid. 
Be patient! Stewing will take several hours.
Don’t worry! During this time you don’t need to check or mix the dish every 10-20 minutes, thus you can have a break and watch your favorite movie, and even prepare a side dish. 🙂

Beef with fruits

If you don’t have clay pot-use casserole.
If you don’t have a lid -cover the pot with foil.
Replace cherries with cranberries.
Omit the sugar.
Spice the meat with 1/3 tsp of crushed cardamom, it brings a nice interesting note. 
You can add 2-3 tbsp of dry red wine for the better taste (after the frying meat).
Ingredients to feed 4 people:
Beef, cut into 2-3cm cubes – 700g/1lb
Golden onion – 1 big, sliced
Pitted prunes – 150g/5 oz
Cherry fresh or frozen – 150g/5 oz
Sunflower or olive oil for frying- 1 tbsp
Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Bay leaves – 2
Whole black peppercorns – 8-10
Salt, pepper – to taste
some parsley, chopped
 
Method:
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 5-7 minutes, add beef cubes and fry until slightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the meat with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Put the meat in a clay pot, add boiling water (just to cover the meat), bay leaves and peppercorns. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Don’t forget to close the pot with a lid! 🙂
  • Transfer to a preheated oven, 200C/400F, for 2 hours.
  • Check the quantity of the liquid, and add some more water  – if desired (the meat always should be in the broth).
  • Reduce temperature to 180C/380F and return to the oven for a further 1 hour.
  • Add prunes and cherries (no need to defrost), check the seasoning and return again to the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Switch the oven off and leave the pot in it (until the oven is still warm).
  • Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
 
The good garnish to such meat is a buckwheat porridge, mashed or boiled potatoes. It could be served with broth; in a clay pot or on a serving plate.
Enjoy the holiday dinner! 🙂