Beef Recipes

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Namibian Chimichurri Steak

Namibian ChimichurriDuring a braai excursion to our neighbouring country, Namibia, we spent a night at Op My Stoep Lodge in Oranjemund. The owner, Fanie is originally from Argentina and gave me his chimichurri sauce recipe after my very nice meal. According to him, this sauce gets better with a day or two in the fridge for the flavours to marry properly, and this is true. But truth be told, I have never waited that long.

WHAT YOU NEED

(feeds 4)
rump steak for 4 people
salt and pepper

FOR THE SAUCE

4 long red chillies (deseeded and chopped)
4 long green chillies (deseeded and chopped)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
½ tot dried oregano
½ tot course salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tot white wine vinegar
2 tots olive oil
½ cup flat leaf parsley

WHAT TO DO

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and place in a food processor or blender. Blend until everything is smooth and has a good, even consistency. In theory, you should put the sauce in a closed container and let it rest in a fridge for at least 2 days. In reality, you might consume it on the same day.
  2. Light a massive wood fire and season the rump steak with salt and pepper on both sides just before the braai.
  3. Braai over very hot coals for about 8 minutes in total until medium rare.
  4. Let the steak rest for a few minutes then cut into strips, hitting the steak with the knife blade at a 45° angle.
  5. \Drizzle the chimichurri sauce over the steak strips and serve.

Marmite and Cheese Steak

JBVES7_Ep04_01With some combinations in life, you can never go wrong. Chalk and cheese is not a good example – they don’t fit together at all. Marmite and cheese, on the other hand, work very well together. A classic combination for a sandwich. Another food group that fits both Marmite and cheese is of course mushrooms. And all three of these schoolground playmates, Marmite, mushroom and cheese, go very well with steak. So, we have ourselves a winner! My prediction is that this recipe will be one of the most made and most popular in this book. And eating it will make you a happier and, consequently, better person.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 sirloin steaks
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 punnet (250 g) mushrooms (sliced)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tot Marmite
  • 200 g cheese (something like Cheddar, grated)

WHAT TO DO

Place the of olive oil and onion in your fireproof pan on the fire and fry the onion until soft and translucent.
Add the mushrooms and fry until soft. Once the mushrooms are soft and cooked, add the wine and Marmite. Stir well and now let it simmer while you braai.
Braai the steaks over hot coals for 4 minutes each side until medium rare. Remove from the fire and let the steaks rest for a few minutes while you finish the sauce.
Increase the heat under the pan. Add the cheese to the sauce and stir continuously so the ingredients can mix. Continue this until all the cheese has melted.
Serve the sauce immediately, hot off the fire, from the pan onto the steak.

Bushveld Steak Rösti

S7_Ep01_008The whole is more than the sum of its parts. This is not only true for the ingredients of this recipe, but also the role players in its creation: Ivor, Bernice, Ansu and Edrich. Although the end result of this recipe is very impressive, both visually and taste-wise, when you break it down to individual steps, every step is actually pretty straightforward. This recipe is as magnificent as a sunrise in the bushveld and equally photogenic. Braai it early in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee brewed on the fire before facing another tough day in Africa.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

1 rump steak (about 800 g)
1 onion (peeled)
4 potatoes
salt and pepper
1 tot olive oil
1 tot butter
200 g baby spinach
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

WHAT TO DO

  1. Light a big fire and start preparing the röstis. Grate the onion and potatoes with the coarse side of your grater and toss them into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.
  2. Use your recently washed hands to form the rösti mixture into four equally sized ‘patties’.
  3. In a flat-bottomed cast-iron pot or flameproof pan over a medium-hot fire, heat the oil and butter together. Then put the rösti’s into the pan, using a spatula to flatten each rösti by putting some pressure on it. Each rösti should be about 1–2 cm thick. Fry until golden brown on one side, then flip and fry until golden brown on the other side. This should take about 4 minutes a side over medium-hot heat but naturally, this time may vary. Your cue is a golden brown colour. You only need to turn them once as turning them often increases the risk of them falling apart. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
  4. Season the steak with salt and pepper and then braai the steak over very hot coals for about 8 minutes in total until medium rare. Once the steak is done, let it rest for a few minutes before you carve it into thin slices.
  5. While the steak is resting, place the spinach in the pan. We’re looking to wilt the spinach. Do not overcook the spinach – stir-fry and then remove from the heat and pan as soon as the leaves start to wilt.
  6. Heat oil in your pan again and fry the eggs until they are cooked to your liking. I suggest you go sunny side up with this recipe.
  7. Build your bushveld rösti by starting with the rösti, then topping it with spinach, the steak slices, and finally the egg.

Mustard Ice Cream and T-Bone Steak

S7_Ep01_001In life, ice cream always make things better. In the case of mustard-flavoured ice cream, it even improves braaied steak! This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, it sounds cool and it looks amazing in photos. But then there are also the fundamental reasons: the core ingredients of mustard ice cream all go well with steak; namely, eggs, cream and mustard. We’ve all had those with steak hundreds of times – here they’re just converted into ice cream format.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

4 T-bone steaks
salt and pepper

FOR THE ICE CREAM

4 egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 vanilla pods
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs wholegrain mustard
1 tsp salt
digital instant-read food thermometer
ice cream machine

WHAT TO DO

  1. If still in its natural state inside the eggshells, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. For this recipe, we only need the yolks.
  2. Now mix the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth.
  3. Mix the cream, milk and vanilla together in a pot and heat over medium heat. You want this mixture to be warm but don’t let it boil.
  4. Now add a little bit of the warm cream and milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add more of the warm mixture, bit by bit, not all at once, stirring all the time. If you add all of the warm milk and cream mixture to the egg mixture at the same time, the eggs will cook and you don’t want that.
  5. Once all the milk and cream is added to the eggs and sugar, and everything is mixed thoroughly, place the entire mixture back into the pot again and heat over medium heat while stirring all the time until the mixture reaches a point of 80 °C. Use a digital instant-read food thermometer to get this part right.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard and the salt. Mix well and now let the pot stand somewhere safe until it cools down to room temperature.
  7. Once at room temperature, place the mixture in a fridge until it is as cold as everything else in your fridge.
  8. Once the mixture is completely cooled down in your fridge, pour it into your ice cream machine and let it churn for 1 hour until it’s frozen and become ice cream.
  9. Spice the steaks with salt and pepper and braai them over very hot coals for 8 minutes in total.
  10. Serve each steak warm from the fire with a ball of mustard ice cream on top.

Coffee-Spiced Steak

Jan Braai Coffee SteakWhen exposed to the searing heat of a braai fire, ground coffee beans develop a flavour that complements braaied steak really well. Curiously, it actually makes a beef steak taste even more like a beef steak. The ingredients list of the spice mix in this recipe also contains sugar, which helps the spice mix as a whole to caramelise properly. The downside is that sugar burns quite easily on the fire when it is exposed for too long to the high-heat coals you want to braai steak on. You want the sugar to just caramelise and not to over-caramelise, which is a diplomatic phrase for burn! Therefore, braai the steaks until almost done, take them off the fire and toss with the spice mix and then it’s back to the fire for just a few final minutes to finish it off.

WHAT YOU NEED
(feeds 6)

6 sirloin steaks
olive oil or melted butter (for dressing)

FOR THE SPICE MIX

1 tot good-quality ground coffee
1 tot dark-brown sugar
½ tot salt
½ tot ground pepper
½ tot paprika
½ tot ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried oregano

WHAT TO DO

  1. Light a massive wood fire.
  2. Now mix all the spice ingredients together. That means everything in the ingredients list of this recipe, except the steak and the olive oil.
  3. Keep the spice mix on the side. This rub will go onto the meat just before the steaks are finished braaing – not yet.
  4. Braai the steaks over hot coals for 5 minutes in total, turning only once. Remove from the braai and generously spice the steaks all over with the spice mix. You can use your clean hands or a spoon to pat and rub the spice into and onto the steaks.
  5. Return the steaks to the fire and braai for no more than 4 minutes, 2 minutes per side until the spices and specifically the sugar start to caramelise.
  6. Remove the steaks from the fire and drizzle with melted butter or olive oil. This gives it a nice shine and adds flavour.
  7. Let the steaks rest for a few minutes. Then carve them into thin strips and serve to your guests.

MASSAMAN BEEF CURRY POTJIE

Massaman Curry

The massaman flavour combination has been around for centuries and has truly stood the test of time. It’s traditionally and best made in a potjie on the fire, and it’s made with beef, as opposed to chicken, lamb or pork. Think of it as a combination of a Thai and Indian style of curry. Characteristically you first make the massaman paste, then fry that in coconut cream, and then you add the meat and potatoes. This is the most complex curry potjie recipe in this book but well worth the effort. The results are quite phenomenal. I like to use a cut like chuck steak for this meal as it has a lot of flavour, can stand up to cooking for a while, and the intramuscular fat means the meat does not dry out too much. For me a cut like rump becomes too dry and something like oxtail takes prohibitively long to become tender.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 1 punnet fresh coriander (30 g)
  • ½ cup salted cashew nuts
  • 4 cardamom pods (whole)
  • 4 cloves (whole)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • ginger, equal in volume to garlic (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1 kg chuck steak meat (deboned and cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • 2–3 medium potatoes (500 g, cut into wedges for looks not taste)
  • 2 red onions (cut into wedges for looks not taste)

WHAT TO DO

1.  Wash the coriander and, without thinking about it too much or being too exact, cut it in half with a single stroke of a knife. Keep one half separate for later and finely chop the other half.
2.  Put your potjie over the flames and dry-roast the cashew nuts for a minute or two. Nuts burn easily so focus solely on this task when performing it. Remove and set aside for later reintroduction to the meal.
3.  In the now empty potjie, dry-roast the cardamom pods, cloves, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Again, don’t multitask. Remove from the potjie. From a practical point of view, you might need to use your leather welding or braai gloves to tip the potjie and scrape the spices out as they are too small to simply get out with your wooden spoon.
4.  Crush open and peel the cardamom pods from step 3. Discard the shells and add the insides of the cardamom pods and the rest of the dryroasted spices to your pestle and mortar or food processor. Start working them over, also adding the nutmeg, turmeric, chilli powder, garlic, ginger, salt, oil and the chopped coriander from step 1. Continue grinding away until you have a thickish paste. Give yourself a pat on the back – you have now made your very own ‘massaman curry potjie paste’ (MCPP).
5.  Please note that you can perform steps 1 to 4 even a day ahead of time, should you wish.
6.  Get the potjie back on the flames and add about 2 tots coconut cream (not an exact science) to the potjie. Now fry the MCPP from step 4 in it for a minute or three.
7.  Add all of the beef cubes and toss around, stir-frying for a few minutes to get bits of them seared. Don’t overthink this step; get some searing done and move on to the next step. We’re looking at roughly 5 minutes.
8.  Now add the rest of the coconut cream and the chicken stock and stir well. Use the juices to loosen anything that might be stuck to the bottom of the potjie.
9.  At this point add the bay leaves, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Bring the potjie to a gentle simmer and put the lid on. Leave it to simmer very gently for 1 hour. You want a few coals under the potjie and a few coals on the lid as well. 10.  Lift the potjie lid, stir in the roasted cashew nuts from step 2, the fish sauce, lime juice and zest, and sugar. Also add the potatoes and onion and close the lid. Simmer until the potato wedges are soft, which will take about 20 minutes.
11.  Remove the lid and now let the potjie simmer uncovered until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.
12.  Serve with basmati rice, naan bread, tomato&onion salad and yogurt with cucumber

CURRY MINCE JAFFLES

jaffelThis is a great recipe to prepare a day before when you are going on a road trip. Remember to pack your jaffle maker, extra fire wood and your tongs on top so you have easy access to it, to stop next to the road at a picnic area and braai your jaffles.

WHAT YOU NEED: (makes 6 jaffles)

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tot ground coriander
  • 1 tot ground cumin
  • 2 tots medium curry powder
  • 1 tot turmeric
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tot tomato paste
  • 1 bread (you will need 12 slices)
  • butter to spread on the bread slices

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Use your potjie, place it on the fire, add the olive oil and onions to the pot and fry for a few minutes. Add the beef mince and garlic, season with salt and pepper and fry until cooked and golden brown.
  2. Add the coriander, cumin, curry powder, and turmeric and fry for a few minutes to release all the flavours.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and let the potjie simmer for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off and you are happy with the consistency.
  4. Remove the potjie from the heat and let it cool down before you pack it into your travelling dish. Keep it in the fridge until you hit the road.
  5. Light your fire and while you wait for the coals to be ready, spread the slices of bread with butter on the outside and fill with the curry mince mixture. Cover with another slice of buttered bread, place the mince sandwich into you jaffle maker and place the jaffle maker directly onto the coals for optimum heat.
  6. Toast the bread on both sides for about 8 – 10 minutes, checking in between your progress to make sure the bread does not burn, but gets a nice toasted colour and serve as is.

AND…
You can add grated cheddar cheese to the jaffles for extra points.

 

BOLOGNESE


sb2My family started making spaghetti bolognese on the fire during camping trips in Botswana and Namibia when I was a teenager. As much as I like braaied steak and boerewors, you can’t eat that every day. The secret to a great bolognese sauce is to simmer it over low coals for a few hours. The problem with cooking something that smells this good for 3 hours when camping in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is that a pride of lions might smell it as well and pay your camp a visit, as happened to us one evening. We ate in the car that night.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4–6)

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 celery stick (finely chopped)
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 200–250 g smoked streaky bacon (diced)
  • ½ tot mixed dried herbs (or 1 tot finely chopped fresh herbs like basil, thyme and parsley)
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tots tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tot lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • To serve: 500 g pasta like tagliatelle or spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat oil in a potjie over a medium-hot fire. Add the onion, carrot and celery and gently fry for 5–10 minutes until the onions are soft and shiny but not brown.
  2. Add the mince, bacon and herbs to the pot and fry for 10 minutes until the meat starts to brown. Stir often and break up any lumps in the mince. You want the bottom of the pot to become slightly brown and sticky here and there, as this adds flavour to the meal, but you don’t want it to actually burn.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir well. Use your spoon to scrape and loosen any bits of meat or other matter stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine is almost completely reduced.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer over low heat. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 20–30 minutes to ensure that the sauce doesn’t cook dry and burn. You need very low and gentle heat, exactly the opposite of braaing steak. (If the pot runs dry, add a bit of water.)
  5. After 2 hours, take off the lid and simmer uncovered for another 20-odd minutes. While you enjoy the aroma, keep a close eye on the pot – you want the sauce to reduce and thicken but not burn. During this time, cook the pasta in salted water in a separate pot.
  6. When you’re happy with the bolognese sauce, serve the sauce with the pasta and a handful of grated Parmesan.

Rump Steak Shawarma

JanBraai Steak ShawarmaDöner also known elsewhere in the world as shawarma, kebab or pita bread is the most popular street food in the German capital city Berlin. It consists of a flat pita bread filled with various trimmings but the main and star ingredient is meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The seasoned meat stacked in the shape of an inverted cone is turned slowly on the rotisserie, next to a vertical cooking element. The outer layer is sliced vertically into thin shavings as it cooks. Well, that is how they generally do it in Berlin anyhow. BUT: There is an easier way to make your own, that will  be quicker, look cooler and also taste better. And that my friends is of course is that we braai the rump steak instead of it dancing on a pole all day. You still get the same flavours but only more, because have have the additional world class flavour of the braai!

WHAT YOU NEED: (Feeds 4)

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 small baby cabbages or 2 quarters from big ones (Use 1 green and 1 red)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 sweet red pepper, red and yellow, thinly sliced,
  • Hummus
  • Full cream yogurt
  • Pita Bread
  • Rump Steak

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Use your grater to grate the cabbage and carrots together in a bowl. Add the thinly sliced onion. Pour the sugar, salt, vinegar, cumin seeds and thyme into the bowl and mix well. Let this mixture sit aside and start to pickle as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Slice the red pepper, yellow pepper, radishes and cucumber into thin slices and keep them aside, ready to use when you assemble the pita.
  3. Prepare your steak by salting your steaks with coarse sea salt. Do not panic that this will be too salty, most of the salt will fall off during the braai.
  4. Braai your steak over hot coals for 8 minutes until medium rare. Feel free to add some extra spice to your steak, when the craving speaks to me I just use a bottle of peri peri sauce that’s in the kitchen. Let the steak rest for a few minutes and then carve it into very thin slivers at a 45° angle.
  5. Give the pitas some time on the coals and toast them lightly before you start to assemble your meal.
  6. Now build your shawarma: Halve the toasted pitas and spread with a layer of hummus on the inside. Add a bit of the pickled salad and the rest of the salad ingredients. Top it off with slices of rump steak and finish it with some yogurt on top.

THE GARLIC BURGER CHARTER

knoffelburgerWith this burger we are not going to beat about the garlic plantation. It is our explicit intention to have the recognisable flavour of garlic ever present. Let’s clear something up – there is no such thing as ‘breath that stinks of garlic’. What these counter-garlic revolutionaries are actually trying to say is ‘you carry the pleasant smell of garlic, I am jealous of the great meal you had’. Garlic is very healthy for you and has been used by humans to flavour food for over 7 000 years. If you have friends who frown upon the abundant culinary use of garlic, my suggestion is that you simply cut them from your circle of trust. Alternatively, give them a fair warning not to attend your garlic burger braai!

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)
FOR THE BURGERS

  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • 1 roll or slab of garlic and herb butter
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • salt and pepper (freshly ground)
  • salad leaves
  • 2 tomatoes (sliced)

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 tot butter
  • 6 garlic cloves (crushed and finely chopped – this is enough if the cloves are a decent size; otherwise use more because you want the sauce to have a strong taste of garlic)
  • 1 tot flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup cheese (aged white Cheddar, grated)
  • 1 tsp salt

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Make the patties: Cut four disks of about 1 cm thick from the roll or slab of garlic butter. Use your wet hands, recently washed with soap and then rinsed with cold water, to divide the mince into 4 evenly sized balls and then form the patties around the disks of butter. The idea is to have firm patties with the butter disks at the centre. In practice you put a disk of butter on a ball of mince, push it right to the middle of the mince with one of your thumbs and then form the patty around it. To flatten and neaten them I like to put them on a flat surface, press down on the patty with the palm of one hand and pat them all around the side with the other hand. Put the patties on a plate and refrigerate until you’re ready to braai them.
  2. Make the creamy garlic sauce: Melt the butter in a pot and add the garlic. Let the garlic fry for about 30 seconds and then add the flour and mix well. Add a little bit of milk at a time and stir continuously. Keep on adding the milk and once it is all in, gradually add the cream and stir until all of that is in as well. Now let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Add the cheese, stir that in and season to taste with salt. You could theoretically perform this step while you braai the patties but I like to do it beforehand and then to reheat and wake up the sauce just as it’s about to be served.
  3. Braai the patties: The biggest challenge is keeping the patties in one piece by ensuring that they don’t stick to the grid. Put the patties down very gently, do not press on them, do not handle them any more than is necessary, and when you turn them do it with extreme care. Start on very high heat to seal them quickly, hopefully before they have the chance to ‘sink’ into the grid and get stuck. Braai the patty for about 8 to 10 minutes in total. Once on each side will do the trick so you will need to turn them only once. Don’t fiddle with the patties to check whether they are sticking. As the meat starts to cook, it releases fat and juices and usually loosens itself from the grid. If you always have a big problem with patties sticking to the grid then brush them with oil on both sides before the braai.
  4. For bonus points: If you have the time and enough space on your braai grid, toast the insides of the rolls after you’ve buttered them during the final stages of your braai.
  5. Assemble your burgers: Place lettuce and tomato at the bottom of the bun, followed by your braaied garlic-stuffed patty and a generous helping of the creamy garlic and cheese sauce. Finish with salt and pepper.

BACON, PINEAPPLE AND SWEET CHILLI BURGER

JanBraai Sweet Chilli Bacon Pineapple and Cheese BurgerThis recipe started out life when my parents had a particularly large crop of chillies in their herb garden. You can only use that many chillies in your curry potjies and so we decided to try and make sweet chilli sauce with some of the red devils. Practice makes perfect and before long there was the sweet chilli sauce recipe below, which as you will see once you make it, is very good! I feel that a properly braaied beef burger is the perfect vehicle to carry this sauce to your mouth, and that braaied bacon and pineapple are the best fellow passengers it could possibly wish for.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

FOR THE SWEET CHILLI SAUCE

  • 5 chillies (any type or a combination, with a few extra on standby)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed or chopped)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (or rice vinegar or white grape vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tot cornflour mixed with 1/2 tot water

FOR THE BURGER

  • 1 kg beef mince (buy steak and mince at home or ask your butcher)
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • salt and pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 packet streaky bacon (250 g)
  • 1 pineapple (peeled and sliced into rings)
  • butter (for the rolls)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
  • salad leaves tomato (sliced)

WHAT TO DO

MAKE THE SWEET CHILLI SAUCE

  1. Chop the chillies finely. If you don’t want too much burn in the sauce, remove some or all of the seeds. If you like it hot, leave the seeds in. If you think the chillies you have are quite mild, use more than 5 chillies. If you think the chillies you have are particularly potent, use your common sense and good luck!
  2. Throw the chopped chillies, garlic, vinegar, water, sugar, salt and soy sauce into a small flameproof pan or potjie, then stir well and bring to a simmer over some coals or a few flames. Naturally this can also be done on a stove.
  3. Simmer for about 6 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved completely; the exact time will obviously depend on your coals or flames.
  4. Mix the half tot of cornflour with a half tot of water in a suitable cup, glass or mug. Add the cornflour mixture to the sauce and stir until the sauce gets thicker. This will take about 1 minute.
  5. The sauce is now ready. Remove from the fire, let it cool slightly while you braai the meat and then serve.

MAKE THE BURGER

  1. Form the mince into 4 evenly sized patties with your hands and flatten out.
  2. When you braai the patties, the biggest challenge is keeping them in one piece. Put them down very gently on the grid, do not press on them, do not handle them any more than is necessary, and turn them with extreme care. Start on very high heat to seal them quickly, hopefully before they have the chance to ‘sink’ into the grid. Braai for about 8 minutes in total. Once on each side during that time is enough. As the meat starts to cook it releases fat and juices and usually loosens itself from the grid. Season the patties with a grind of salt and pepper while they are braaing.
  3. While the patties are braaing, also place the bacon on your grid and braai until crispy. Also braai the pineapple slices for 5 minutes on each side so that they caramelise and sweeten.
  4. As the elements on the grid become ready, remove and use that empty space on the braai grid to toast the insides of the rolls after you’ve buttered them.
  5. Assemble the burger with your freshly homemade sweet chilli sauce as the crowing glory.

Bobotie Potjie

janbraai bobotieBobotie is a South African classic and an important part of our culinary heritage. It’s also one of my favourite meals, but this doesn’t make me special: everybody loves bobotie. As with many other South African cult hits, you can cook it very successfully in a potjie on a braai fire. I believe it’s your moral duty to perfect the art of making bobotie. It’s a great way to show off when you cook for visitors to South Africa.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6)

  • 1 tot oil
  • 3 onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tots medium strength curry powder
  • 1/2 tot ground turmeric
  • 1 kg beef mince, ostrich mince or venison mince
  • 1/2 tot salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup almond flakes
  • 1 tot vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • rice (to serve)
  • chutney (to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat the oil in a flat-bottomed potjie over a medium-hot fire and fry the onions and garlic until the onions are soft but not brown.
  2. Add the curry powder and turmeric, then fry for a minute – the bottom of the potjie will look quite dry, but don’t let the mixture burn.
  3. Chuck in the mince and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring it to break up any lumps with a wooden spoon. The mince should change colour from red to light brown, but shouldn’t turn dark yet. The meat should release some juices – use these juices and your wooden spoon to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom of the potjie.
  4. Add the salt and pepper, apricot jam, raisins, almond flakes and vinegar/lemon juice. Stir well, bring to a slow simmer and put on the lid. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring once in a while to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn.
  5. Now remove the lid and flatten the mixture with the back of your spoon so that it’s even across the bottom of the potjie. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a small mixing bowl, then pour over the bobotie. Stick the bay leaves into the egg mixture. Cover with the lid and put a layer of hot coals on top of the lid. At this stage you only want coals on the lid, not underneath the potjie. Cook for 30 minutes and the bobotie should be ready.
  6. Serve with rice and chutney on the side.

AND …

You might like to serve sliced banana, coconut or chopped tomatoes with the bobotie.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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