Beef Recipes

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SHERRY BOEREWORS SLIDERS

Sherry Boerewors slidersA ‘slider’ is the culinary term for a miniature hamburger or more accurately, a small piece of meat served on a mini bread roll. Forming and braaing miniature little patties always seemed like far too much hard work to me, as both the preparation and the braaing would be complex. Boerewors was an easy solution to this. My other problem with sliders is that they are sometimes heavy on the bread and light on the meat. Again, this is something we can solve by simply not closing them with another piece of bread, thereby upping our ratio of meat to bread. Sherry, the original Old Brown type, is a very good value-for-money product to braai with, and one of the core ingredients of this recipe. The sweetness of the sherry complements the spiciness of the boerewors perfectly.
WHAT YOU NEED (makes about 30 pieces)
1.2 kg boerewors (medium thick)
2 cups sherry
1 tot olive oil
1 tot butter
3 onions (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 long fresh baguette
skewers

WHAT TO DO
1. Cut the boerewors into pieces of about 6 cm each.
2. Put the pieces of meat into a bowl and pour the sherry over them. Cover the bowl and let the boerewors marinate in a fridge for a few hours.
3. Remove the boerewors pieces from the sherry and skewer them. It doesn’t matter how many skewers you use as it’s not a case of a skewer per person. Do not discard the sherry.
4. When the fire is lit, heat up a fireproof pan or potjie and sauté the chopped onion in the oil and butter for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
5. Pour all the sherry that the boerewors was swimming in into the pan or potjie with the onion and garlic and bring to the boil. Stir regularly and let this cook and reduce by half.
6. Put the marinated boerewors skewers in a hinged grid, close the grid and braai over hot coals for about 8 minutes until done. Give each side at least two looks at the coals, meaning you need to turn the grid at least three times in total.
7. During the braai, you or one of your braai party members can cut the baguette in thin slices (we want maximum meat-to-bread ratio so keep the slices thin).
8. Arrange the slices of baguette on a platter and give each piece some of the sherry and onion sauce.
9. When the boerewors is ready, take it off the fire, pull out the skewers and place a piece of braaied sherry-infused boerewors on each prepared slice of baguette.

BRAAI FREEDOM FIGHTER

Freedom FighterThe Braai Freedom Fighter does not play games. It’s a robust burger with little interest in debate and it dominates your plate. You use 100% pure red meat (steak) to make the burger patties, and the sauce is made with the finest red ingredients known to braai kind – significant figureheads like red onions, red bell peppers, paprika, cayenne pepper and tomato. Even the stock we use to bring it all together is beef stock, stock from a red-blooded 100% red meat animal. If the ferocity of the Braai Freedom Fighter scares you, enjoy it with a dollop of fresh sour cream, as the two complement each other very well.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

1 kg steak mince
4 hamburger rolls (buttered)
1 tot olive oil
2 red onions (sliced or chopped)
2 red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped)
1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper
2 tots paprika
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 tot tomato paste
½ cup beef stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black
pepper sour cream (for serving; a 250 ml tub is more than enough)
parsley (to garnish)
WHAT TO DO
1. Heat the oil in a potjie and fry the onions and peppers for about 4 minutes until they start to soften, then throw in the garlic. Onions take longer to cook than garlic, so always fry onions before adding the garlic. This is general advice and is not only applicable to this recipe.
2. Add the chilli powder and paprika and toss to release their flavours. Then also add the tomatoes, tomato paste and beef stock, and mix to combine them all. Bring to the boil, close the lid and simmer until you start to braai the patties. Basically you want to let it simmer so that the flavour can develop while the fire burns down and you can start to braai. Check every now and then to stir the potjie and make sure it doesn’t cook dry. You want the sauce to thicken but you don’t want it to burn.
3. Making and braaing 100% beef patties is comprehensively described for hand-chopped burgers (page 28). In the case of the Braai Freedom Fighter I usually go for homemade machine-minced meat. It’s a little less effort than hand-chopped mince but the Braai Freedom Fighter sauce is so dominant that you will barely notice the difference. Otherwise get good mince from your butcher.
4. Form the 1 kg of fantastic mince into four patties using your recently washed hands and braai over very hot coals for 8 minutes, turning only once. Grind or sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on both sides just before, or during the braai. The patties get no other binding ingredients or seasoning.
5. When you start braaing the patties, take the lid off the sauce and let it reduce to your liking, adding extra heat under the potjie if necessary to get it reducing more rapidly.
6. During the final minutes of the braai, toast the insides of the cut and buttered rolls on the grid over the coals for bonus points.
7. Assemble the burgers: Roll, patty, Braai Freedom Fighter sauce, dollop sour cream, chopped parsley.

THE SMASH BURGER

GBP_9641This burger is going to be your favourite hamburger recipe, even if you don’t know it yet. The smash burger method is the secret to crispy edges and a juicy burger.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when making your smash burger:

  • You need something to smash the burgers with. A heavy spatula made from metal will do the job.
  • The less you handle or touch the meat, the better. You want loose ground beef. The more you mold it, the more packed it will become and that is not what you want to achieve. You want the edges of the burger to be edgy and crispy.
  • All you need to add to the beef mince is salt and pepper, nothing else.
  • Use good quality beef mince, with a good percentage of fat, as the fat adds flavour to the burger.
  • Use a cast iron grill pan that you can place directly on the fire. You need a flat surface, that can handle very high heat.
  • Use good quality cheddar cheese and soft burger buns and make the special burger sauce in the recipe below.

WHAT YOU NEED: (feeds 4)

1kg good quality beef mince
Salt and pepper
4 soft hamburger buns
8 slices of good quality cheddar cheese

For the sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise  (French style)
1 tot tomato sauce
1 tot Dijon mustard
1 gherkin (normal-sized, chopped)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper

WHAT TO DO:
  1. Prepare your sauce first: Add all the ingredients to a bowl and blend with your stick blender, or strong arm and whisk, until smooth. Alternatively add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. And then your last resort will just be to chop everything really finely and mix together.
  2. Divide your mince into 8 heaps, do not handle the meat too much. Use your recently washed hands and lightly form the meat into a ball and remember to keep the edges of the meat edgy and loose.
  3. Place your cast iron grill pan directly onto the flames to get a nice hot surface. Pour a little bit of olive oil on the pan.
  4. Place your 8 balls of meat on the hot surface and smash them with some pressure with your metal spatula, just once, making sure they are nice and flat and the same all over.. Season with salt and pepper..
  5. Flip the patties over using your spatula to scrape it loose from the grill pan and season the other side with salt and pepper.
  6. Braai the other side for 3 or more minutes, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty in the last minute of the braa and take it off from the pan to prevent over cooking.
  7. Prepare your burgers by placing sauce at the bottom of the bun, then a cheese patty on top of the sauce, followed then by another cheese patty, and then more sauce if you want. Serve immediately

ROCKET SIRLOIN WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Rocket sirloin with balsamic

Serving steak exactly like this was not my idea. It was during a ski holiday in Austria, with a snowstorm raging outside making the actual act of trying to ski completely impossible, that I took refuge in a wooden hut with a nice warm fireplace. It turned out that this hut had more than one fireplace, and the cook used one of them to prepare food or more accurately, to braai steak. This is how that steak was served.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)
4 sirloin steaks (about 300 g each)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
2 tots honey
coarse sea salt
1 punnet fresh rocket leaves (80 g)

WHAT TO DO
1. Prepare the steaks: If they were in vacuum packs, remove, wash under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Now put them flat on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to trim the steaks of all excess fat and sinews. You just want the actual pieces of meat. Now taking extreme care, butterfly each steak. That means cut them open exactly as you would do with a hotdog roll, almost all the way without breaking through at the other side. Now open the steaks and press on their ‘spines’ so that they are stretched open on the cutting board. Effectively they should now be double their original size and half their original width. Use your meat mallet and give the steaks a once over. Be firm, but not too aggressive.

2. Make the sauce: In a small pot or pan, mix together the vinegar, wine and honey. Heat and bring to the boil. Now let this mixture boil and reduce until it starts to thicken. Do not leave the sauce unattended as it can burn easily, so you need to keep stirring and checking while it simmers. Remove from the heat when you are happy with the consistency. The more you reduce it, the thicker and more syrupy it will become but the less sauce you will have. Make the call and pull the plug around the halfway mark between starting the reduction and a dry burnt pan. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, try adding more honey next time.

3. Braai the steaks: Just before braaing them, toss some coarse sea salt on the steaks. Now braai over very hot coals for about 6 minutes in total. You only need to turn them once, so go 3 minutes on the ‘insides’ and 3 minutes on the ‘outsides’. Remove from the fire and let them relax and rest a bit. 4. Build the work of art: Pour some sauce on the ‘inside’ of each steak, pile on a generous helping of fresh rocket leaves, and then close them back to their original form. Drizzle with the remaining sauce on top

STEAK AU POIVRE

@janbraai Steak au PoivreIn the recent past France has taken a lot of our best rugby players who play for the French teams on French fields. Here we are simply returning the favour by taking their favourite way of preparing steak and using the recipe in a braai way, around the braai fire! To braai steaks medium rare over very hot coals should take you about 8 minutes and to make this sauce should also take you about the same time, so if you have a big enough fire with flames and coals, the two acts can be performed simultaneously. Alternatively, make the sauce, keep it warm and then braai the steaks. I know the name of this recipe is unpronounceably difficult so you are welcome to just call it a ‘French-style pepper steak’.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 sirloin or porterhouse steaks (off the bone, about 350 g each)
  • 2 tots black peppercorns (or rainbow peppercorns)
  • coarse sea salt (in a grinder)
  • 2 tots butter
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 onion (grated or very finely chopped)
  • ½ cup beef stock (or any other stock or water)
  • 2 tots Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • fresh parsley or chives (finely chopped, to serve)

WHAT TO DO

BRAAI THE STEAKS

  1. Make a proper big fire.
  2. Crush all the peppercorns by placing them on a cutting board and using a bottle of wine to roll over and press them a few times.
  3. Take the steaks out of their packaging, wash them under cold running water, pat them dry with kitchen towel and use a sharp knife to trim away all excess sinew and fat.
  4. Just before the braai, grind salt onto both sides of each steak. Aim to get salt on the edges of the steaks instead of the centres. This way you will still hit the centres, but the sides will be properly salted as well.
  5. Now spread the crushed pepper out on the cutting board and press both sides of each steak into the pepper. If you run out of pepper before you’re done with all the steaks don’t panic, simply crush additional pepper.
  6. Braai the steaks over very hot coals for about 4 minutes on each side until medium rare. When the steaks are ready remove from the fire.

MAKE THE SAUCE

  1. Prepare the sauce by starting to melt the butter in a pan over flames.
  2. Now for the step that has an element of actual danger so be a bit prudent here and get kids to stand well back. Add the brandy to the pan. If it does not spontaneously catch fire from the fire, set it alight. Half a cup of brandy does not explode in the way petrol explodes, but for a few seconds there will be quite a bit of flame so keep your eyebrows out of the way and make sure you have space to retreat and stand back once you have set it alight. Let the alcohol burn off, and as soon as the flames die down, proceed to the next step.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for a minute or three until it starts to change colour. Now stir in the beef stock, mustard and crème fraîche.
  4. Taste the sauce and add a bit of salt if you feel so inclined but remember that there is also salt on the steaks.

SERVE

Let the steaks rest for a few minutes and then carve all of them into slices using your favourite, biggest and sharpest knife. Put all the meat and sauce on a platter, sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives, and place this awesome feast on the table with pride.

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.

Biltong-crusted Fillet Steak with Burnt Butter Sauce

Biltong crusted steakThis biltong-crusted steak recipe is from Willie, a professional chef who was kind enough to share one of his top trade secrets with me. The only unconventional ingredient for this recipe is what I call ‘biltong powder’. Many butcheries and supermarkets sell it but if you cannot find it, simply make your own using dry biltong and a blender.

WHAT YOU NEED
(feeds 4)

1 kg beef fillet
½ cup Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1 cup biltong powder
2 tots olive oil
mix of vegetables for 4 people (stuff like carrots, onions, baby marrow, mushrooms and bell peppers)
½ cup butter
clingwrap

WHAT TO DO

  1. Spread Dijon mustard all over the fillet steak. Use your recently washed hands or a knife or spoon to do this.
  2. Now season the steak with salt and pepper.
  3. If you couldn’t find biltong powder and your biltong is still intact, chop it and then use a blender to process it into a fine form.
  4. Throw all of the powdered biltong onto the steak. Roll and toss and press until the mustard-coated outer surface of the fillet steak is completely encrusted in biltong.
  5. Now roll the steak tightly into clingwrap and put it in a fridge.
  6. When you are ready to braai a few hours or a day later, unwrap the steak and cut it into four equally sized portions.
  7. Put your fireproof pan or wok onto the fire and add the olive oil and all of the vegetables to it. Stir-fry the vegetables until charred but still crisp.
  8. Also braai the steak medallions on a grid over very hot coals for about 8–10 minutes, making sure all four sides of each steak face the coals to get some colour.
  9. Plate the steak and the vegetables and now add half a cup of butter to the pan you used to fry the vegetables. Make sure there is intense heat under the pan so the butter melts and starts to bubble. As soon as the butter starts to brown, remove the pan from the fire and drizzle the steaks and the vegetables with the burnt butter.

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.

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