African Slow Cooking: North and South

100_3236It was cold this weekend – perfect weather for a slow cooked stew.  Stews are a fantastic, nutritious way to use inexpensive cuts of meat – and they are usually the most flavoursome.

On Saturday, after the market, I decided to make a traditional South African bredie.  A bredie is, essentially, a stew that was made by the Boer folk, and depending on the variation you make, also includes some Malay influences.  The Boers were descendants of the Dutch colonists, and who trekked to the hinterland of South Africa;  the Malay folk were slaves and religious exiles sent to Africa.  Much of the food in South African homes is a fusion of our rich history, so here is how I made a butternut bredie.

Butternut Bredie

You will need an appropriate quantity of lamb or mutton stewing meat (I used neck), one or two onions, a  green pepper (or a chilli if you like a bit of heat), a clove of garlic, a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger and a stick of cinnamon;  butternut – cut into cubes or chunks and potato, similarly prepared.

100_3238If you are using a slow cooker, place half the raw vegetables along the bottom, reserving some for the time being. Sauté the chopped onion, pepper/chilli, garlic and ginger, and then seal the meat in the same pan.    Put the meat on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker and then deglaze the pan with a little water or stock to make a gravy.  Add the remaining vegetables and then pour the liquid over that and put on the lid.

“Fire up” the slow cooker and leave it alone to develop into a wonderful rich bredie – a good few hours.  The vegetables will be tender and the meat will be soft and fall off the bones!100_3239

A note about the fat:  for those who are Banting, it’s not a concern.  For those who don’t like it – there was much less fat than I expected.  Don’t shun fat – that’s where the flavour comes from!

Serve, either with or without rice or pap and other vegetables.

And now, this, for my first ever follower!

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

This is a Jenny Morris recipe – from the Giggling Gourmet newsletter, what seems like a million years ago, and which I’ve made successfully, often – also in the slow cooker.

Chris, I’ve put in brackets my substitutions for the “unusual” ingredients, and it serves 4.

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 small lamb shanks
1 Spanish onion. chopped (white or red)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar (molasses sugar)
4 teaspoons fish sauce
4 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves (lemon or lime leaves)
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 potatoes, unpeeled and chopped

If you are doing this in the oven, preheat to 160°C.  Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat.  Add the lamb shanks and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until they are well browned. Remove the lamb and place in a baking dish/crock for the slow cooker.  Reduce heat and add the onion to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute longer, then add the chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the sugar, fish sauce, chopped tomatoes, lime leaves and stock, and bring to the boil.  Remove from heat and add potatoes and sweet potato to the baking dish/slow cooker with the lamb, and pour the sauce over the top.  If using the oven, cover with foil and bake for 2 hours, or until the lamb falls away from the bone.   For the slow cooker, put the lid on and leave until you’re ready to eat and the lamb falls away from the bone.

Serve with steamed couscous or rice.

Two different African stews, one from the North and the other from the South.

Enjoy!


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