Rabbit and Dumplings

rabbit-and-dumplings

It’s funny how we take so many things for granted not ever noticing how special or nice they may be. For me it’s simple things like my mommas home cooking, having my brother or pappaw bring home fresh meat like deer, squirrel and rabbit or sitting around a table with my entire family laughing and enjoying good food. Here in Saudi for this dish I had to buy my rabbit from Carrefour and they sure are not cheap, but one good thing is they are huge compared to the ones we have back home.

If you have never tried rabbit you are really missing out. The meat is so clean and pure white with no fat what so ever. Rabbit is very normal in Southern cooking and countries like Egypt and Italy also use the meat quite often in recipes. It’s nothing different from any other animal a person may eat and all regions have things they enjoy that may be odd to some one else.

I am a big Duck Dynasty fan and Miss Kay certainly has had me craving my mommas dumplings so I had to make a batch. If you do not have rabbit you can use squirrel like Miss Kay does, but that is surely impossible to get here. Her recipe is pretty basic just having the meat cooked in water with salt and pepper and some dumplings added. I make mine with a lot more flavor and they sure are good. When it comes to the dumplings everyone does theirs different. My mom just adds the dough into the pot with a spoon, Miss Kay makes hers into squares and I made mine in rounds. They all taste great!

1 large rabbit (cleaned and cut in half)
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
8 cups chicken broth (or 8 cups water and 2 chicken bullion cubes)
2 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk

dumplings:
4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of buttermilk (I used laban)
3 tablespoons butter

1. In a stock pot on medium heat add 1 tablespoon butter, rabbit and salt and pepper. Allow each side to cook for a few minutes. In a food processor add onion and garlic and pulse. Add into soup with chicken broth and carrots. Reduce to simmer, cover and allow to cook for one hour.

2. In a large bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter mixing until mixture is course. Add a little of buttermilk at a time until you get a smooth dough like you’re making biscuits. On a floured surface roll the dough out and cut dumplings(I used a glass).

3. Remove the rabbit from the soup, sit aside. Add cream of mushroom and evaporated milk. Bring soup to a full boil, add dumplings, reduce to low, cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat.

4. You can add the rabbit back into the pot in the two pieces or remove the meat from the bone and add back into pan. Allow to sit covered for 15 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Homemade Vanilla Coffee Syrup

homemade-vanilla-coffee-syrup-with-vanilla-beans

Back in the day when I first started drinking coffee I would always order one with vanilla or a mocha because I really did not understand what everything else was. I have since abandoned those drinks and moved on to bigger and better ones or so I thought. Until yesterday morning when my husband brought me a vanilla cappuccino home from the shop . I fell in love with an old friend once again and wondered why I had ever stopped drinking it to begin with. Well, you all know me so I had to get in the kitchen and make my own so I can enjoy these.

One of my favorite things about all of these homemade coffee syrups is that they are natural. That being said you will want to use a real vanilla pod with this recipe. I know it does not make the prettiest picture and all that stuff does not look appetizing but real vanilla is like liquid gold and if you get rid of it you’re just crazy. Opening a pod is simple you just carefully make a slit from the top to the bottom and then I always use a chopstick to pull out the stuff from inside. The more of the beans and pod equals more of a taste and that is why you should keep both in your syrup. Regardless of what flavor you make you will always want to give it a light shake before using. And there you have it friends this is what real vanilla syrup looks like.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean

1. In a small saucepan on high heat add water, sugar and vanilla. Carefully whisk to dissolve sugar. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Allow to cool then pour into a jar, cover and refrigerate.

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Date Paste

date-paste

Dates are an important part of Saudi culture and you can find them about every which way around the country from stuffed, covered to syrups. Date syrup is also known as debs and used over sweets usually in place of sugar syrup. Muslims have already known for centuries that dates have immense health benefits and the rest of the world is slowly catching on. Dates are great for your heart, nursing mothers and diabetes just to name a few.

I have saw a lot of recipes on the net that have wrongly labeled date paste as syrup. The syrup actually looks like molasses while the paste looks like my above picture. You make both of them using the same things and practically the same methods so you can choose if you want the paste or syrup at the beginning of the process. I went with the paste since I tend to feel like you can use it more. Also, do not feel like you have to use one type of dates they should all work well. I used my usual sukary dates that I keep on hand.

You can use this or the syrup in place of sugar in your tea or coffee also in baking or cooking. You will get a natural sweetener that is also great for you. You can add your favorite spices in it such as cardamom or vanilla pods to flavor it as well. I plan on posting a few recipes to show you how you can use this paste later.

1 cup pitted and chopped dates
1 cup boiling water

1. In a bowl add chopped dates and pour water on top. Cover with a towel and allow to sit and soak for 3-4 hours.

2. Add entire mixture to a blender or food processor and and blend until smooth. Pour in a jar, cover and place in the refrigerator.

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