Koksijde is a city at the very west of the North sea coast of Belgium. While browsing through my 'Original Flemish Dishes' cookbook I came across this local recipe, which I just had to prepare, it's so unusual.
4 slices of bacon or breakfast bacon , 1 cm thick (the original recipe uses slices of normal bacon 1 cm thick, I used these to cut back on the fat. )
1 kilo of firm cooking potatoes
1 medium onion
25 grams of butter or tablespoon of olive oil
2 bay leaves (laurel),
a sprig of thyme or 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 liter of freshly brewed coffee
Peel your potatoes and cut the larger ones in half , put in a larger pot.
Pour the coffee over them ( yes, that's right : coffee !) till the potatoes are mostly covered and add two bay leaves and a sprig of thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme) and pepper. Bring to a boil put the lid on and let it cook slowly. The original recipe adds salt here, but since the bacon is already salted, I leave this out.
While the coffee is starting to boil , saute your peeled and diced onion in a pan with the olive oil or butter.
Add the four slices of bacon after a few minutes and bake them on both sides on a medium fire for a few minutes (they don't need to be cooked through! )
Scoop the onion into the coffee and arrange the meat on top of the potatoes.
Close the lid and let it simmer on a low fire till the potatoes are done (prick them with a fork to check if they're done through) : takes 20 minutes or more , depending on how slowly you simmer it.
I've turned two slices over ,: you can see how nicely they've browned on the side touching the coffee.
Serve the potatoes in a deep plate, pour a generous helping of coffee sauce over it and add a slice for each person.
As you can see , the potatoes are colored on the outside, the meat has been steamed to a nice pink : the coffee taste has mostly disappeared, the sauce tastes slightly salty and of meat with hints of thyme and bay leaf.
Oh, and to make the most of the sauce , you just have to mash your potato in it with your fork! Wicked!
I like this dish,I've made it twice already and I'm told it still appears regularly on the dinner table in Koksijde.