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BLOODY MARY BURGER

Bloody Mary BurgerMillions of people around the world enjoy the combination of ingredients that makes up the Bloody Mary cocktail. As you know, every single one of those ingredients also goes well with a pure 100% beef patty that was braaied on the coals of a wood fire. This brings us to our next magic trick; we’re making a hot sauce based on the classic cocktail and serving it with braaied burgers.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced or chopped)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tin tomato cocktail juice (200 ml)
  • 1?2 tot Worcestershire sauce
  • 1?2 tot Tabasco sauce
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 4 hamburger rolls butter
  • fresh lettuce leaves
  • 4 celery sticks (for garnishing)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat the oil in your fireproof pan and fry the onion and red pepper until soft. Add the paprika and fry for another minute.
  2. Add the tomato cocktail juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and juice of the lemon, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  3. 100% beef mince patties do not need any binding agents like egg or bread crumbs. You just need to braai them like a pro. Start by shaping the mince into 4 evenly sized patties with your hands. If you’re doing this ahead of time, put them on a flat even surface like a plate and keep in the fridge until you braai them. Get the thickness equal all round – we’re not making meatballs remember, and they should not look oval with a hump in the middle when you look at them from the side.
  4. Braai the patties with care. The only way the patties will break apart is if you break them apart. This happens if they stick to the grid, sink into the grid or you turn them all the time – so don’t let any of these things happen. Put the patties down very gently on the grid and do not press on them. The patties are 100% steak so braai them exactly as you would a whole steak of the same size. Braai them on very high heat to seal them quickly before they have the chance to ‘sink’ into the grid. They should spend about 8 to 10 minutes in total over the coals. Once on each side during that time is enough, and twice on each side is the maximum. Don’t fiddle with the patties to check whether they are sticking. As the meat starts to cook it will release fat and juices and usually loosen itself from the grid.
  5. During the final stages of the braai, toast the insides of the buttered rolls.
  6. Assemble the burger, starting with the lettuce on the roll at the bottom followed by the patty. Divide the sauce among the 4 burgers. Add some extra freshly ground pepper and the top half of the roll. Garnish by skewering the burgers with a celery stick, which will not only look cool, but also hold it all together. Serve with additional Tabasco sauce. Cheers!

COQ AU VIN – CHICKEN IN REDWINE POTJIE

Coq Au vinFrom my personal experience, this classic French dish is even better cooked in a potjie on a fire, using South African wine. The rule of thumb when cooking with wine is that you should use wine of the same quality that you drink. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to open a new great bottle of wine especially to make this potjie. It just means that if you had a braai dinner party and are left with some half-finished bottles of wine, this is exactly the meal you should cook on one of the days thereafter. You need one bottle of red wine in total, which can be a blend of more than one wine as long as they are all of a decent standard.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6 hungry guests)

  • 2 tots oil (or butter)
  • about 20 small pickling onions (peeled and whole)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • parsley equal in volume to the carrot (chopped)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 packet smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 packet whole button mushrooms (about 250 g)
  • 2,5 kg chicken pieces (any mixture of thighs, drumsticks, breasts)
  • 1 tot cake flour
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 tot tomato paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper (coarse, freshly ground)
  • 1 tot parsley (chopped)

WHAT TO DO

  1. If your chicken pieces have skin on them, pull off all the skin that is easy to remove, for example on the thighs and breasts. Leave the skin on the difficult ones like drumsticks; it’s definitely not worth the effort to get it off them.
  2. Put your potjie over medium coals and add the oil or butter. As soon as there is heat, add the whole onions, carrot, parsley, thyme, bacon and mushrooms. Fry until the bacon starts to turn golden brown.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and fry for a few minutes until they brown slightly.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over everything, and stir to coat all of the chicken pieces.
  5. Next add the red wine and the tomato paste, and stir well. Put the lid on the pot, and simmer for about 60 minutes until tender. Now remove the lid and let the sauce reduce until you are happy with the consistency.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir well. Take off the fire, add the chopped parsley and serve with cooked white rice.

AND …

Just to confirm, in case you were in any doubt, you serve this meal with red wine.

COQ AU VIN – HOENDER IN WYN POTJIE

Coq Au vinIn my ondervinding word die? beroemde en klassieke Franse dis die beste berei in ‘n potjie op ‘n vuur met Suid-Afrikaanse wyn. Wanneer jy wyn in jou kos gebruik, behoort dit van dieselfde gehalte te wees as wyn wat jy sal drink. Dit beteken natuurlik nie dat jy ‘n goeie bottel wyn spesiaal vir die? resep hoef oop te maak nie. As jy mense met ‘n braai onthaal het en daar is ‘n paar halfgedrinkte bottels wyn oor, is di?t die dis wat jy moet maak. Jy het altesame een bottel se rooiwyn nodig, maar dit kan ‘n mengsel wees solank alles van billike gehalte is.

The English version of this exact recipe is available here.

WAT JY NODIG HET (vir 6 honger gaste)

  • 2 sopies olie of botter
  • omtrent 20 klein uitjies (soos wat jy sou inle?; afgeskil en heel)
  • 1 wortel (opgekap)
  • pietersielie (fyngekap, dieselfde volume as die opgekapte wortel)
  • 4 takkies vars tiemie
  • 1 pakkie gerookte streepspek
  • 1 pakkie heel knopie- sampioene (omtrent 250 g)
  • 2,5 kg hoenderstukke (enige mengsel van dytjies, boudjies en borsies)
  • 1 sopie koekmeel
  • 1 bottel rooiwyn
  • 1 sopie tamatiepasta
  • 2 teelepels sout
  • 2 teelepels swartpeper (grof, varsgemaal)
  • 1 sopie pietersielie (fyngekap)

LAAT WAAI!

  1. As jou hoenderstukke vel aan het, trek dit af in die geval van stukke waar dit maklik is om te doen, soos dytjies en borsies. Los maar die vel aan moeilike stukke soos boudjies.
  2. Sit jou pot op medium hitte en voeg die olie en botter by. Sodra daar hitte is, voeg jy die uie, wortels, pietersielie, tiemie, spek en sampioene by. Braai oor medium hitte totdat die spek goudbruin begin raak.
  3. Voeg die hoenderstukke by en braai vir ‘n paar minute tot effens bruin.
  4. Strooi die meel oor alles en roer om die hoenderstukke daarmee te bedek.
  5. Voeg die rooiwyn en tamatiepasta by en roer deeglik. Sit die pot se deksel op en laat prut vir 60 minute tot sag. Haal die deksel af en laat ‘n bietjie van die vog uit die sous verder afkook.
  6. Voeg sout en peper by na smaak. Haal van die hitte af, voeg die pietersielie by en bedien met gekookte wit rys.

EN …

Net om te bevestig, indien jy dalk wonder, jy bedien die gereg saam met rooiwyn.

Beef Wellington

Jan Braai Beef WellingtonEverything tastes better on the braai, in this case it’s the classic Beef Wellington.

What you need:

  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 250g mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup (250ml) cream
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 300 – 500 g steak (rump, sirloin, fillet)
  • 400 roll of puff pastry
  • grated cheese (optional)
  • smoked ham (optional)

What to do:

  1. Finely chop the onion and mushrooms. Add olive oil and/or butter and the finely chopped onion and mushrooms to a pan and fry until the mushrooms lose their moisture and starts to brown. Then add the thyme.
  2. Add some or all of the cream to the pan and let this mushroom, onion and cream sauce reduce to a fairly thick paste.
  3. Trim the steak of your choice (rump, sirloin or fillet) of all sinews and fat and braai over very hot coals for about 8 minutes until medium rare. Let the steak rest a few minutes and then thinly slice.
  4. Unroll the thawed puff pastry on a cutting board. Spread the mushroom and cream paste on half the surface of the pastry and lay the slices of steak on top of that. Generously season with salt and pepper.
  5. Optional step: finely chop smoked ham and grate some cheese. Add this on top of the current residents of the puff pastry.
  6. Fold the uncovered half of the pastry over the filling and use a fork to press all open sides of the pastry closed and seal it.
  7. Now braai in a hinged grid over medium coals for about 20 minutes until ready. You want the pastry golden brown and crispy and all ingredients heated and melted throughout. As puff pastry braais there will be a moment where it seems to ‘melt’ and sag into the grid. Don’t panic. After this it will firm up again and start to cook.

Gebraaide Beef Wellington

Jan Braai Beef WellingtonAlles proe beter op ’n braai, en in die gaval is dit die klassieke ‘Beef Wellington’. Hier is die resep soos ek hom in die Bolandse dorp Wellington gebraai het. Die vulsel bestandele was so ’n bietjie te veel vir een rol pasty deeg, so mettertyd sal ek die resep hier onder nog ’n bietjie aanpas deur 2 rolle deeg (een onder en een bo) of minder vulsel bestandele te gebruik. Jy kan enige van die twee opsies uitoefen wanneer jy hom die naweek by die huis maak, en dan vir my terugvoer gee.

The English version of this Beef Wellington recipe is available here.

Wat jy nodig het

  • 1 ui (fyngekap)
  • 250g sampioene (fyngekap)
  • 1 koppie (250ml) room
  • 1 rol pasty deeg (ontdooi)
  • 300g – 500g steak (rump, sirloin of fillet)
  • kaas (opsioneel)
  • gerookte ham (opsioneel)
  • olyf olie
  • sout & peper

Laat Waai!

  1. Braai die fyngekapte ui en fyngekapte sampioene in ’n pan saam met olyfolie of botter. Gooi dan van of al die room by en laat dit afkook totdat dit ’n dik pasta vorm.
  2. Sny alle oortollige vet en senings van die vleis af en braai die steak oor baie warm kole tot medium-rou. Laat die steaks ’n paar minute rus en sny dit dan in dun repies.
  3. Rol die pastydeeg uit op ’n snyplank en smeer die sampioen room mengsel oor helfte daarvan. Pak die repies steak bo op dit en geur behoorlik met sout en peper. Indien jy so voel kan jy ook kaas en ham bygooi, maar dit is opsioneel.
  4. Vou nou die skoon helfte van die deeg bo-oor toe en druk die kante van jou pasty vas met ’n vurk.
  5. Braai vir omtrent 20 minute oor medium warm kole in ’n toeklaprooster tot gaar. Die gereg is gereed as die deeg goudbruin en bros is, en die bestandele deurwarm en gesmelt is. Soos jy pastydeeg braai ‘smelt’ dit op ’n stadium en begin dit in die rooster insak. Moenie bekommerd wees nie. Net hierna begin dit gaar word en dan raak dit meer verm.

Pork Neck Curry

JanBraai Pork Neck Curry

I have absolutely no idea how this curry tastes when it’s cold or what it’s like the next day. It always gets completely polished off during the eating of the meal. Your ratio of great food to effort is very high here too and if it takes you more than 1 hour from the first step to serving the meal, you’re doing something wrong. The pork neck chops are tender to begin with so there’s no need for hours of simmering. The two tots medium curry powder used in the recipe is not a printing error so do add all of it. Medium curry powder really does not have a lot of chilli in it. Adding this much packs the meal with spice and flavour while still keeping the mouth-burn levels way below anything that should concern you or your guests.

What you need (feeds 4)

  • 8 pork neck chops 1 lemon (juice)
  • 1 tot oil or butter
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • ginger, equal in volume to
  • the garlic (grated)
  • 2 tots medium curry powder
  • 2 tots apricot jam
  • 2 tots tomato paste (or a 50 g sachet)
  • 1?2 tot salt
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup cream

What to do:

  1. Cut each pork neck chop in half, throw them in a bowl, and squeeze the lemon juice over them. Toss around to distribute the lemon juice evenly.
  2. Heat the oil in your potjie and fry the onions for about 4 minutes.
  3. Now add the garlic, ginger and curry powder, and toss together for a minute.
  4. Add the pork chops and fry in the potjie until all of them have a bit of colour.
  5. Add the apricot jam, tomato paste and salt, and stir in.
  6. Now pour in some of the water and use it to scrape loose all the sticky bits on the bottom of the potjie. Once you’re satisfied with your efforts, add the rest of the water and mix it in.
  7. Heat the potjie to a simmer and close the lid. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and let it continue to simmer until half of the liquid has reduced and evaporated.
  8. Stir in the cream and let it continue to simmer until half of the liquid has reduced again. Practically speaking, let the potjie boil without the lid until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.
  9. Remove the potjie from the fire and serve with basmati rice, yogurt and chopped cucumber, tomato and onion.

And…

This recipe also works well with chicken. Use a pack of 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks, pull off and discard their skins, drizzle with the lemon juice, and continue from step 2.

Steak with biltong cream sauce

JanBraai_SS_IMG_009Whilst visiting the Inyati rest camp in the Sabi Sands game reserve I prepared the recipe below on the braai. On that particular occasion the biltong and cream sauce was served with braaied Springbok fillet steaks, but you can just as successfully serve this sauce with normal beef steak. As I don’t have a particularly nice photo of the finished meal, I decided to rather post a picture of the lion cubs we saw later that day after having our meal of braaied Springbok steaks with biltong and cream sauce. The lions had Impala on the menu that day if I remember correctly, but again, posting a pic of their food is probably not family friendly either so here a pic of them having their after dinner drink.

Biltong and cream sauce – What you need

  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped, grated or blended biltong
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon beef stock (dry, not liquid stock)
  • 1 cup fresh cream

Biltong and cream sauce – What to do

  1. Sauté the onion in the butter and oil for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the biltong to the pan and let it sweat for a minute or 2.
  3. Add the salt & pepper and half of the cream and stir through.
  4. Sprinkle the beef stock over the contents of the pan and stir through.
  5. Add the rest of the cream, stir and let simmer whilst you braai the steaks until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.
  6. Braai the steaks until medium rare and serve the sauce on the steak.

BEEF MADRAS CURRY

Madras CurryOne of the best things about Britain is not British at all; it’s Indian. The Brits love their Indian curries and the Madras curry, named after the South Indian town with the same name (now called Chennai) is right up there. The dish has some distinctive flavour notes (as those wine-tasting people would say), which you’ll pick up if you make it with all the correct ingredients as listed below. Madras curry is traditionally very hot, so if the thought of a chilli makes you sweat, rather move along to something else or stay here for a delicious meal but leave out the chilli powder. The spices listed below are all things that should be standard items in your kitchen, so if you need to buy some don’t worry, they won’t go to waste – you’ll use them for many other recipes. This recipe was voted their favourite by participants of the 2014 National Braai Tour.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4–6)

  • 2 tots vegetable oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tot cumin seeds (or aniseed – but not star anise)
  • 1/2 tot ground coriander
  • 1/2 tot chilli powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tot paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tot garam masala
  • 1 kg beef (boneless, cut into chunks)
  • 1/2 tot salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tot crushed fresh ginger (or grated)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 punnet fresh coriander leaves (to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat the oil in a potjie over a medium-sized fire. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes until it’s soft but not brown.
  2. Now the spices go in: cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, coriander, chilli powder (optional), paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Stir for a minute until it starts smelling irresistible. Right about now what I call the ‘word of nose’ phenomenon will kick in. Your neighbours will start calling to invite themselves over for dinner. Stay focused and look at the bottom of the potjie, which might seem very dry. Proceed immediately to the next step.
  3. Add the beef, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger. Fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to brown on all sides. The beef will release some juices. Use this to scrape away any sticky bits of spices at the bottom of the potjie. If you struggle, add a very small amount of water to help you.
  4. Pour in the tomatoes, coconut milk and lemon juice. Bring to a very slight simmer, then cover and cook over a few coals (no flames) for 90 minutes until the meat is tender. Don’t confuse tender meat with a government tender. Tender meat is a good thing.
  5. Serve on rice with a yoghurt and cucumber sauce called raita and fresh coriander leaves.

AND … If your potjie is fairly small and the meat will not be able to brown properly all at the same time, do that in batches first, before you brown the onions. Then set the browned meat aside and simply add it back to the potjie in step 3.

Pork Chop Carbonara

Pork Chop CarbonaraWhat we have here is the recipe for my Braaied Pork Chop Carbonara. I obviously found inspiration for this one in the classic Italian pasta from Rome, the Bacon Carbonara. It is interesting to note that Carbonaro is the Italian word for Charcoal Burner. Now as we all know, there is one thing better than a charcoal burner, and that is a wood burner, otherwise known as a braai fire. The original recipe from Rome uses Italian bacon like guanciale or pancetta but to my mind a braaied South African pork chop is vastly superior in quality, taste and texture so what we have here is an improvement on the original recipe. The recipe works well with both fresh and dry pasta, but as egg is a core ingredient my personal feeling is that fresh pasta works better, so go for that if you can hold of it.

What you need (serves 4)

  • 4 Pork loin chops (deboned) or 4 Pork Neck Chops
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 tot Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 250 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 125 ml Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 250 ml fresh cream
  • 400g – 500g Linguini or Spaghetti
  • Extra Parmesan for garnish
  • Fresh Parsley for garnish

What to do:

  1. Braai the pork chops over medium-hot coal for about 12 minutes until done. Pork chops should be braaied until medium, with an internal temperature of 71 °C. Season with salt and pepper before or during the braai.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet. Use fresh pasta if possible.
  3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms for a few minutes, add the garlic and fry until the mushrooms are soft.
  4. Beat the eggs and properly mix that with the cream. Also mix the grated cheese with that.
  5. Remove the pasta from the heat when cooked and drain. Add the pasta to the same pot or pan as the mushrooms and pour over the mixture of beaten eggs, cream and cheese while the pasta is still hot and mix well. The heat of the pasta and mushrooms will cook the egg. This is a signature part of this dish.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Diagonally slice the pork chops into thin slivers and serve on top of the pasta. Garnish with extra parmesan and fresh parsley.

STEAK AND STOUT BEER POTJIE PIE

@janbraai Steak and Stout Beer Potjie PieThe Irish have their own version of National Braai Day, called St Patrick’s Day – the day their country comes to a standstill and has one big party. I’ve been to some St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin as part of my ongoing research and development of National Braai Day. Every single pub in Ireland serves a fantastic pie made with steak and stout. I’ve adapted their recipe to suit our local braai conditions. You make the pie filling in a potjie and you braai the pastry on a grid over the coals. Alternatively, just serve the awesome contents of your potjie on a bed of mash or with a piece of baguette bread!

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6)

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 1 kg steak (chuck is best, other- wise rump; cut into blocks of 2 cm × 2 cm)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tot cake flour
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 sticks celery (finely chopped)
  • 1 tot chopped mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley; or use 1?2 tot dried mixed herbs)
  • 1 can or bottle stout (about 400 ml)
  • 250 g button mushrooms (halved)
  • 1 packet puff pastry (400 g, completely thawed)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large flat-bottomed potjie over a hot fire. Add the steak cubes, salt and pepper and stir. Shake in the flour, and then stir well to distribute the flour evenly over everything. The bottom of the pot will seem a bit dry, but don’t worry too much about it. Fry for about 5 minutes until the pieces of flour-coated meat turn golden brown.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery and herbs, then fry for another 5 minutes.
  3. Now pour in the stout. Stir to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom of the pot, and then bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms, cover the pot, and then simmer over low heat for 1 hour. It is very important to keep the heat low. ‘Low heat’ means a few coals, and no flames of any significance under the pot.
  5. When the pie filling in the potjie is nearly ready (after about 1 hour of total cooking time), unroll the puff pastry from the packet. Now you have two options: either cut the pastry into the shape of the bowls you’re going to serve the pies in, or cut it into squares that you will put on top of the filling on plates or in bowls. Braai the pastry shapes in an oiled, closed hinged grid for about 20 minutes over very mild coals. Turn the grid often until the pastry is golden brown and crispy. Don’t braai them too fast, as there is a good chance they will burn if you do. The pastry will look like it is starting to ‘melt’ at first; don’t worry, it will soon firm up and become easier to handle if you just carefully turn it quite often. This part is optional, you can also just serve the filling on a bed of mash potatoes or with pieces of baguette bread.
  6. When the filling is ready, take the potjie off the fire and stir well. The liquid should be thick and glossy. If not, cook uncovered for a few minutes to let it reduce and thicken. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve by dishing up the filling into bowls or onto plates and then put the braaied pieces of pastry on top of each of them. You could also serve the pies with mashed potatoes if you like.

AND … Although Guinness is the internationally famous example of stout, it’s by no means the only one. You can make this recipe just as effectively with a local favourite like Castle Milk Stout.

Citrus Flavoured Malva Pudding Potjie

Malva PuddingThis recipe is a adaption of my original malva pudding potjie recipe that appears in my 2nd book, Jan Braai – RedHot (Afrikaans edition called Jan Braai – Vuurwarm).  The dough and baked part is identical to the original recipe but I’ve added some freshly squeezed satsuma juice (you can use satsuma, orange, naartjie or any of their family members) for a new take on the old classic.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6)

For the batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1?2 tot bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tot apricot jam
  • 1 tot vinegar
  • 1 tot melted butter
  • 1 cup milk

For the sauce:

  • 1?2 cup cream
  • 1?2 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1?2 cup freshly squeezed juice
  • 1?2 cup butter

WHAT TO DO

  1. Light the fire. You need fewer coals than when braaing steak, but you’ll need a steady supply of coals once the pudding is baking. Now use butter to grease your no. 10 flat- bottomed baking potjie. You can see a picture of this kind of potjie in the photo collage above.
  2. Sift the flour and the bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir in the sugar (you don’t need to sift the sugar).
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg very well. Now add the jam, vinegar, butter and milk, whisking well after adding each ingredient.
  4. Add the wet ingredients of step 3 to the dry ingredients of step 2 and mix well.
  5. Pour the batter into the potjie, put on the lid and bake for 50 minutes by placing some coals underneath the potjie and some coals on top of the lid. Don’t add too much heat, as burning is a big danger. There is no particular risk in having too little heat and taking up to 1 hour to get the baking done, so rather go too slow than too fast. During this time, you can add a few fresh hot coals to the bottom and top of the potjie whenever you feel the pudding is losing steam.
  6. When the pudding has been baking for about 40 minutes (about 10 minutes before it’s done), heat all the sauce ingredients in a small potjie over medium coals. Keep stirring to ensure that the butter is melted and the sugar is completely dissolved, but don’t let it boil.
  7. After about 50 minutes of baking, insert a skewer into the middle of the pudding to test whether it’s done. If the skewer comes out clean, it’s ready.
  8. Take the pudding off the fire and pour the sauce evenly over it. Believe me, it will absorb all the sauce – you just need to leave it standing for a few minutes. Serve the malva pudding warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, a dollop of fresh cream or a puddle of vanilla custard. A good way to keep it hot is to put it near the fire, but not too close – after doing everything right, we don’t want it to burn now.

Braai lasagne potjie

After every braai, if there is any leftover meat, debone and skin the meat. then chop it up finely and add it to the container in your freezer that is specially placed there for this purpose. as soon as you have enough meat in that container, make the braai lasagne potjie. If you don’t have leftover meat, just fry 500g lean beef mince in the potjie as you start the process.

What you need (feeds 4–6)

  • 12 lasagne sheets
  • butter

For the bolognese sauce:

  • 500 g finely chopped leftover braaied meat (any mixture of steak, chops, pork, chicken, boerewors). Failing this, just use 500g beef mince and fry in the potjie until lightly browned.
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup mix of grated carrots and finely chopped celery
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tot tomato paste
  • 1 tot oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

For the béchamel (white) sauce:

  • 3 tots butter
  • 3 tots flour
  • 2 cups stock (vegetable, beef, chicken, etc., whatever you have on hand. Alternatively 1 cup stock and 1 cup milk)
  • 1?2 cup cream
  • 1?2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or aged cheddar, but then use more)
  • 1?2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

What to do

  1. Make the bolognese sauce: In the pot that you will bake the lasagne in, mix the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and fry gently in the butter until soft. Some light flames should give you the correct heat. If it boils too rapidly, remove the pot from the flames and heat it with a few coals. Add the meat, wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir very well then simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring now and then. Keep the cooked sauce in another container until you need it for Step 3.
  2. Make the béchamel sauce: In a separate pot, melt the butter and use a wooden spoon to mix the flour completely into the melted butter. Now add the stock bit by bit while you continuously stir the mixture. When all the stock has been added, let the sauce simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, Parmesan and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Make the lasagne: Fill the cast- iron pot with layers of bolognese sauce, pasta sheets and béchamel sauce. A flat-bottomed pot will result in a neater lasagne but any round- bottomed pot is also fine.
  4. Put the lid on the pot and bake the lasagne for about 50 minutes by placing the pot on a stand over coals and also putting a few coals on the lid of the pot. When all the pasta sheets are completely soft, the lasagne is ready.

Sesame Seed and Chilli Calamari

It was in a restaurant in Plettenberg Bay, after finishing a delicious a plate of calamari that I enquired of the waiter if she could please ask the chef for the recipe. The waiter came back a few minutes later and said no, it’s a secret. And so I set out to research recipes and secrets for grilled salt & pepper calamari, and I delved into the story behind the perfect sesame seed calamari. What follows below is not a replication of any specific recipe or technique, but rather the culmination and compilation of lots of little bits of information that was discovered.

What you need

  • Good quality calamari. During my research a very famous South African chef told me that there is no secret to making great calamari that he knows of, the trick is simply to buy good quality in the first place. I have no pointers on this. Go to a fishmonger that you consider to be good and buy there. If it turns out rubbish, go to a different high end fishmonger the next time. The calamari I used was fresh, as in not frozen. As with most seafood I think fresh is alway better than frozen.
  • Milk
  • Cake Flour (1 cup)
  • Sesami Seeds – Black and White (3 tots i.e 75ml)
  • 5ml Salt
  • 5ml Pepper
  • 5ml Chilli Flakes
  • Oli
  • Mayonaise
  • Wasabi
  • Lemons

What to do

  1. Put the calamari in a bowl and add milk to just cover the calamari. Many sources claim that leaving calamari in milk prior to cooking it will tenderise the calamari, and make it less tough on the byte. I have no idea if this is true, but there is absolutely no harm in doing it, so on the off chance that it makes a difference, my advice is, if you have the time, let the calamari swim in milk for an hour. Then drain it and proceed to the next step.
  2. Mix the flour (one cup should be sufficient for the quantities of calamari you will make at home) with the sesame seeds, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. If you are the type of person that orders lemon and herb chicken at Portuguese restaurants, go easy on the chilli.
  3. Now toss pieces of calamari into a plastic bag with some of the seasoned flour and shake. This will give each piece of calamari a light dusting and cover of flavoured flour.
  4. Now you braai the calamari in oil in a pan over hot coals. It really only takes a minute of two for the calamari to be done, and you only need to turn each piece once.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and wasabi mayonaise. To make wasabi mayonaise you mix mayonaise with a bit of wasabi.

Luxury Braaibroodjies

We were at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna, feeling quite chuffed with life and the hotel management said it would not be a problem if we wanted to braai on the deck. The only question was, what to braai in such a decadent setting. Now earlier in the day we got a very nice sourdough bread from Il de Pain, the renowned bakery on Thesen Island, and I wanted to use that as part of the meal. So the decision fell on creating a few super luxurious braaibroodjies. Normal white toaster bread was replaced by slices of the world class Il de Pain sourdough bread, chutney was swopped for a mixture of French style mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. Onion was replaced by spring onion and tomato was replaced with sun-dried tomatoes. Naturally we needed cheese and the decision fell on 18 months matured cheddar. For team spirit I also added gypsy ham into each unit. Forget about butter on the outside, for these creations you use olive oil on the outside.

What you need

  • Slices of fresh sourdough bread
  • French style mayonaise
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Gypsy ham
  • 18 months matured cheddar
  • sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • spring onions
  • olive oil
What to do
  1. Go for a oval shape sourdough bread as opposed to a round one. This way all the slices will be the same size. Slice the bread fairly thin, the same thickness as normal toaster bread. One has a natural tendency to slice these types of bread thicker, so be conscious of avoiding that.
  2. Lay out half of the bread slices on a cutting board and liberally spread with the French style mayonaise and whole grain mustard.
  3. Add the gypsy ham, slices of cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped spring onions. Do not be stingy with any of the ingredients, this is a super luxury braaibroodjie and not only should the quality of ingredients reflect it, but also the quantity.
  4. Add the top layers of bread and drip or spread olive oil on them.
  5. Place in a hinged grid (toeklaprooster)  and braai over medium-low heat coals. After the first turn, also spread olive oil on the other outside, the side which was at the bottom when you assembled the units. Continue to braai over the gentle coals, turning very often, until the cheese is melted and the braaibroodjies are golden brown on the outside.
  6. It goes without saying that you serve these beauties with glasses of ice cold Methode Cap Classique. The South African – vastly superior – version of what the French call Champagne.

Steak with Smoked Mussel Sauce

So there we were in Mosselbaai (direct translation – Mussel Bay) on the South Coast of South Africa, the greatest country in the world. All set for a feast of mussels on the ‘Jan Braai vir Erfenis’ TV show. But as luck would have it, the sea was hit by a severe case of red-tide at the time, and we could not eat any fresh mussels due to the health hazzard. Now you cannot make a braai TV show in a town called Mussel Bay and not eat any mussels, so my attention turned to smoked mussels. And this is where we got lucky. The red-tide forced me to develop one of the greatest sauces ever to grace the presence of a medium rare braaied steak. My process started by looking at the intricacies of the classic Carpetbag steak, something described as “a luxury dish, probably of American derivation”. We went way beyond that.

What you need (serves 6)

  • 6 steaks of about 300g each
  • oil or butter
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 250g bacon (1 pack – diced into blocks or strips)
  • 250g mushrooms (1 pack)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 x 85g tins of smoked mussels (drained)
  • 250ml fresh cream (1 cup)
  • 50g – 100g pecorino or parmesan cheese (grated)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
What to do
  1. Fry the chopped onion in the oil or butter until it starts to get personality and then add the crushed garlic and diced bacon. Sauté until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another minute.
  3. Add the two tins of drained smoked mussels and gently toss. From here on in, go gentle so that the mussels to not break apart to much.
  4. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the sauce and gently toss.
  5. Mix in half a cup of the cream. As the sauce thickens later, you can mix in the other half of the cream as well.
  6. Add the grated cheese and gently toss. If you cannot get hold of pecorino, just use aged white cheddar.
  7. Test the sauce and add salt & pepper to taste.
  8. If the sauce is getting a but thick, add the rest of the cream.
  9. Keep the sauce warm.
  10. Braai the steaks over very hot coals for 7 – 10 minutes until medium rare. Here is a complete description on how to braai the perfect steak.
  11. Serve the smoked mussel sauce on the perfectly braaied steaks.
And
If you cannot get hold of smoked mussels, use tins of smoked oysters.

Chilli Con Carne

Chilli con carne works equally well for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Perfect for a surf trip, hunting trip or anywhere else you might want to serve a warm and spicy meal to a hungry crowd! The nice thing is that it actually improves after standing a few hours, so you could prepare it in your potjie, and then go into the sea or veld, and upon your return when everyone is cold and hungry, you can just warm it up and bask in the glory. Don’t be put off by the fairly long list of ingredients – the method makes up for it as it’s very straightforward. Serve it as is or with a piece of bread.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4)

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (crushed or chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (seeds and stalks removed, then chopped)
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tot tomato paste (or 1 50 g sachet)
  • 1 can borlotti beans (drained and rinsed under cold water)
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed under cold water)
  • 1 tot vinegar
  • 1/2 tot sugar
  • 1/2 tot salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream (250 ml tub, to serve)
  • fresh coriander leaves (to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat the oil in a potjie over a hot fire. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper and fry for 5–10 minutes until the onions are soft and the edges start to turn a bit brown.
  2. Tip in the mince, stir and break up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Fry for about 10 minutes until the beef starts to ‘catch’ on the bottom of the pan, taking care not to let it burn.
  3. Add the carrot, paprika, cumin, chilli powder and coriander, and stir well.
  4. To this, throw in the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, chickpeas, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, and then stir well.
  5. Bring the mixture to the boil, then cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  6. Remove from the fire and serve with a dollop (ja, I know, I don’t like the word ‘dollop’ either, but the editor insisted that it’s the best way to describe it; so there you go, ‘dollop’ made it into the final draft of my book) of sour cream and some fresh coriander leaves. Alternatively, you could take the potjie off the fire, let it rest somewhere with the lid on, and reheat it a few hours later before serving.

AND …

If you’re planning to prepare this meal when you’re on the road, don’t pack all the bottles and packs of spices. Just measure them out at home and throw them together in one small bag or container.

Recipe & photo copyright: JanBraai

Paella on the Braai

Catering and kitchen shops sell a type of fireproof steel pan that is perfect for the preparation of this dish, so perfect in fact that this pan is widely referred to as a ‘paella pan’. Paella actually means ‘pan’ and this is where the name of the dish comes from. Failing that, any normal cast iron pot also does the job.

What you need (feeds 8 great people)

Please note that as with most dishes cooked on a braai, paella ingredients are not exact. Take these ingredients as a guideline.

  • 8 chicken pieces (thighs and/or drumsticks)
  • 2 kg shellfish (in the shell – like black mussels and prawns. If you’re using just meat without shells, 1 kg is sufficient)
  • 500 g fresh fish fillets (cut into blocks)
  • 250 g spicy cured sausages (sliced or chopped – like chorizo or pepperoni)
  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 peppers (chopped – green, red or yellow)
  • 2 cups rice (uncooked)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed or chopped)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 3 cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock (3 cups is 750 ml which is also the size of a wine bottle)
  • 1/2 cup black olives (pitted)
  • 250 g peas (they come in frozen packets of this size)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tot parsley (chopped)
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon wedges

What to do

  1. In a large pan on the fire, fry the onions and peppers in the oil for 3 minutes. Your coals should be just hot enough to actually fry the onion. As the steel of the pan is much thinner than a cast iron pot, it will be a bit more sensitive to heat.
  2. Add the rice and mix well. All the rice should be thinly coated with oil. If this is not the case, add a bit more oil. Fry the rice for a few minutes until it turns pale golden in colour. Now add the garlic, paprika, turmeric, chilli powder and chopped tomatoes and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and cover the pan with a lid or with tinfoil. The rice should now cook until soft, which will take about 35 minutes in total.
  4. Slightly reduce the heat under the pan by scraping away some coals. You are allowed to lift the lid now and again to stir the rice, and to monitor that it is not burning. Should everything seem a bit quiet, scrape a few extra coals back under the pan.
  5. After 20 of those 35 minutes, add the seafood, spicy sausage, olives and peas to the pan. Stir it in and cover the pan again. The seafood will cook in these last 15 minutes. Monitor your liquid level and add the wine if the pan becomes dry. If the wine is in and the pan still dry, start adding small amounts of water. On the side, and timing it to be ready with the rest of the dish, braai the chicken pieces in a grid over coals. This will take about 20–25 minutes.
  6. When the rice is soft, sample the dish and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Arrange the chicken pieces on top, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges, and serve immediately.
Recipe & photo copyright: JanBraai

How to braai venison – Hoe om wildsvleis te braai

This is my go to marinade and recipe for braaing venison. Whether it’s Springbok, Kudu, Gemsbok or anything else. Works very well with the sirloins (rugstringe) or with deboned leg.

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg deboned venison meat
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tot parsley
  • 1 tot lemon juice
  • 1 tot balsamic
  • 1 tot soy sauce
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 medium sized chopped onion
  • A few lengthwise-sliced cloves of garlic.
  • A few sprigs of rosemary

Method

Make small incisions in the meat and stuff the garlic and rosemary into these holes. Alternatively, just add the garlic and rosemary to the marinade. Place meat in a plastic bag and arrange onion pieces to cover all sides. Add marinade; push out most of the excess air and seal bag (a tight knot is sufficient). Place bag in fridge for 12 – 48 hours and turn every few hours if you find that the top part of the meat is not covered by marinade. Remove, shake off excess marinade and braai over medium to hot coals until just shy of medium. Rest the meat a few minutes before slicing. Slice across the grain, always.

Additional Advice

If you have more than 2kg of meat then increase all the marinade ingredients proportionally until the meat in the bag is covered by marinade on all sides. Be cautious with rosemary, it has a distinct taste and is hated by many. If you can taste the rosemary in a meal, you added too much. This recipe also works very well with a deboned leg of lamb.

Beef trinchado potjie

Apart from being the first tourists to dock a ship at Mossel Bay, the Portuguese are also famous for a few culinary achievements. One of their best is the rich garlic and chilli-flavoured beef stew known as trinchado. Theoretically, the quantity of ingredients in this recipe means that you can serve 8 people, but in my experience it’s one of those meals that are just too good, which means everyone wants second helpings.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6–8)

  • 2 kg steak cubes (I use a combination of rib-eye and rump, cut into 4 cm cubes)
  • 2 tots soy sauce
  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 2 tots butter
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 10 garlic cloves (crushed or chopped)
  • 1/2 tot cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup brandy (no, not a typing error)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (no, not a typing error)
  • 1/2 tot salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a big handful of pitted black
  • olives (this is not an exact science)
  • 1 cup cream (250 ml tub)
  • grated rind of a small lemon

WHAT TO DO

  1. Pour the soy sauce over the steak cubes. Now you need to fry the meat to seal in the juices and you’ll have to do this in batches. Generate some proper heat in your potjie by placing flames directly under it. Then add a tot of oil and a tot of butter and fry about one-third of the meat, or as much as fits in the bottom of the potjie. You could of course fry all of the meat at once if your potjie is big enough. Take the cubes out and keep to one side. Add another tot of oil and butter and fry the next third. By the time you get to the last batch of steak cubes there will be enough oil and fat left in the potjie.
  2. When the last batch of meat is browned, put back all the other meat into the potjie, unless you fried it all at once. Add the onions, garlic, cayenne pepper and bay leaves; then fry for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft.
  3. Pour in the beef stock, brandy, wine, salt and pepper. Heat until the sauce starts to simmer, then cover with a lid and continue to gently simmer for 1 hour until the meat is very tender.
  4. Remove the lid and stir in the olives, cream and lemon rind. Bring to the boil and then cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce starts to get thicker.
  5. Remove from the fire and let it stand for a few minutes before serving. The generous amount of sauce is part of this meal and should be enjoyed with the meat, so serve trinchado in bowls and eat the sauce with spoons when necessary.

AND …

I know it sounds like a bit of a mission to grate lemon rind, but in some instances you really have to do it, this being one of those cases. Grating the rind of a lemon is really not a challenging job; it smells nice and it’ll make you look like the type of expert who reads this book. It adds a unique flavour to this dish that would just not be the same without it.

tailor-made braai salt

At some stage during your ascendancy to the braai throne in your backyard, you will want to start mixing your own tailor-made braai salt. This might happen on one of those days when Bafana, the Springboks and the Proteas play on the same day and you are tired of eating meat flavoured with the same commercially bought spice for the seventh time; or it might happen right now. Use the recipe and ingredients listed below as a broad guideline rather than as an exact list. View it as a point of departure on your journey. Play around with the quantities, leave something out, add something else. To state the blatantly obvious, if you add more of something, the mixture will have a stronger taste of that, and if you add less, it will taste less of that. Normal supermarkets sell all of these spices in ground format, which makes mixing them easier but if you can’t find something, go to a speciality spice shop.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes almost 1/2 cup of braai spice)

  • 1 tot salt (I like to use high-quality salt flakes and then crush them.)
  • 1/2 tot ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tot paprika
  • 1/2 tot crushed garlic powder
  • 1/2 tot ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice (pimento)
WHAT TO DO
  1. If some of the ingredients are too big or coarse, solve the problem by taking them for a spin in your coffee grinder or give them some love in your pestle and mortar.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a glass jar, then close the lid and shake it well. Use as needed to season steak, chops or chicken. The salt mix also works very well as a dry rub on large meat cuts like beef brisket or pork belly.
  3. Over time you might develop more than one mixture for different meats. For chicken you might want to drop the cloves and the nutmeg and add an item like parsley.
  4. Perhaps your pork spice will also have some mustard powder in it, for example. But then you would have to kick out one of the other ingredients, as there are already ten, which is a nice round number. Who wants his own tailor-made braai salt with eleven ingredients?
AND …

The creative process does not stop at choosing the ingredients. You might also want to spend some time or money on choosing a nice glass container or stainless steel shaker to keep your tailor-made braai salt in.

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