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Mieliepaptert

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 5.14.31 PMIn a world of uncertainty, I have never been disappointed by mieliepaptert. It’s an almost foolproof dish. You start off by making mieliepap, already a great meal on its own. Then you just add some bells and whistles to make it even better – almost like buying a great new car and then adding all the optional extras. Assembling the mieliepaptert in layers is essentially like making a lasagne, just with entirely different ingredients.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 8)

For the stywepap:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups maize meal

For the mieliepaptert:

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 packet (200–250 g) smoked streaky bacon (sliced into chunks)
  • 400–500 g mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1?2 tsp salt (the bacon is already salty)
  • 1?2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 can creamed sweet corn
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese (about 200 g)
  • 2 cups cream (2 × 250 ml tubs)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

WHAT TO DO

Make the stywepap:

  1. Add the water and the salt to a pot and get the water boiling over a hot fire (or stove).
  2. When the water in the pot boils, stir in the maize meal using a wooden spoon. It should take you between 1 and 2 minutes to mix it in properly.
  3. Put the lid on the pot and let it simmer for 25 minutes on very low heat. On a fire, this means removing the pot from the flames and placing it on a few coals.
  4. You can check on the porridge (or pap) once or twice during this time to make sure it’s simmering (boiling is too hot; standing still is too cold), but don’t lift the lid too often as too much water will then escape in the form of steam. After 25 minutes the porridge will be ready.
  5. You can now enjoy the porridge as is, but to use it in mieliepaptert you need to take it off the fire and let it cool down in the pot – we’re looking for a solid piece of pap that we can slice.

Make the mieliepaptert:

  1. Take the cooled stywepap out of the pot in one piece, and cut into 1 cm-thick slices, as you would do with bread.
  2. Put the pot back on the fire. Add the oil, onion, bacon and mushrooms. Fry for about 10 minutes until the onion turns a golden brown colour. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Take the pot o the heat and pour the contents into a bowl. In the empty pot, start layering the paptert with a layer of sliced pap (place a few slices of pap loosely next to each other, but not too tightly). Follow with a layer of onion/bacon/mushrooms, a few spoonfuls of sweet corn and some grated Cheddar. Then another layer of pap, and so on. You should have about 2–3 layers (but this is not an exact science) of each, finishing with some cheese.
  4. Pour the cream over the top layer (it will sink in), and finish with some thyme leaves.
  5. Put the lid back on. Put the pot over some coals (not too hot) and also put some hot coals on top of the lid. Cook for 30 minutes until the meal is simmering and the cheese is nice and brown. The cream sauce will thicken on standing, so leave it to rest for 10–15 minutes before serving.

BREAKFAST PIZZA

breakfastpizza2Looks like a pizza, made on a wood fire, more of a frittata and a real breakfast winner! This is not really a pizza and probably closer to an Italian frittata, but the name is catchy and from a distance it looks like a pizza. The quantities here make both shopping and execution of the recipe easy. As you might imagine, when you’ve done it once, this is a recipe you can use as a baseline for your own further experimentation with ingredients.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)

  • 1 packet (200 g) bacon (chopped)
  • 2 bell peppers (any combination of green, yellow or red, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 large tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tot chutney
  • 6 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tot milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • roughly 200 g Cheddar cheese (grated)
  • fire-toasted bread or roosterkoek (to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. In a pan on the fire, fry the bacon pieces for a few minutes and then add the chopped bell peppers and onion. Fry all of these together on high heat until things start to brown. Add some oil or butter if things look like they might burn before they get to the golden-brown goal.
  2. Now add the tomatoes and chutney and toss everything around for another few minutes until your mixture is well and truly stir-fried.
  3. In rapid succession, add all of the eggs and milk, as well as the salt, pepper and oregano to the pan. Mix everything together so the egg mixture can fill the gaps between the rest of the ingredients and form a nice layer on top.
  4. When things are evened out to your liking, top the eggs with all of the cheese and then close the pan with tight-fitting tinfoil. Let the pan stand over gentle heat for a few minutes until the egg is cooked and the cheese melted.
  5. Serve with fire-toasted bread or freshly baked roosterkoek.

AND …
The bacon can be swapped or supplemented with finely chopped leftover braai meat. On the cheesy side, the Cheddar cheese can be supplemented or swapped with crumbled feta cheese.

CURRIED SWEET POTATO AND CARROT SOUP

Sweet potato&Curry soupA potjie and a fire do a great job when it comes to cooking soup. This fail-safe recipe results in a soup that works very well as an impressive starter to a three-course braaied meal. The special piece of equipment I have to make this recipe particularly successful is a cordless stick blender. Once all the contents of the potjie are cooked, you use the blender to transform the lumps into a smooth soup right there on the fire. Alternatively, just use a traditional potato masher for a soup with a slightly different texture but equally great taste.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 8)

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 tot ginger (piece of about 5 cm, freshly grated)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 tot medium curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into blocks)
  • 4 large carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 2 cups good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • 1 tot fresh coriander (chopped)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tub sour cream (or crème fraîche)

WHAT TO DO
1. Heat the oil in a potjie on the fire and fry the onion for 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
2. Add all the spices and fry for about 1 minute until it starts smelling amazing.
3. Now stir in the sweet potato and carrot, making sure everything is mixed well with the spices.
4. Add the stock and water, bring to a gentle boil, and close the lid of the potjie. Simmer for about 45 minutes until everything is cooked and completely soft. You can check up on the potjie now and then just to make sure it’s not running dry but this is very unlikely. As usual, if it does happen, add more water.
5. Once everything is cooked through and soft, remove the lid and use your stick blender or masher to transform the contents of the potjie into a soup of uniform consistency. If the soup is too thick, add some water.
6. Stir in the lemon juice and coriander. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
7. Dish up with a big dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche in each bowl and serve with fresh bread toasted on the fire.

Obatzda Cheese Spread and Roosterkoek

obatzda

Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese delicacy and best served with freshly baked roosterkoek from the fire.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 block of Brie or Camembert cheese
  • 2 tots soft butter
  • 1 tub (250 g) plain cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 of an onion very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tots beer
  • 1 tot freshly chopped chives

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Cut off most of the hard edges of the Brie or Camembert cheese and chop into small pieces and mash finely with a fork.
  2. Add the butter, cream cheese, paprika, chopped onion and cumin and mix well.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, add the beer and mix again until a smooth mixture.
  4. Add the fresh chives and serve with freshly baked roosterkoek, or any other fresh baked bread.

RED CURRIED BLACK MUSSELS

rcbmRed is usually not a colour we like to associate with black mussels, mostly because when there is red tide in the sea, it means we cannot catch black mussels. Thai red curry, on the other hand, is a flavour that goes well with mussels. This is the type of recipe that will add a lot of value to some lives as you realise that a great-tasting mussel potjie is pretty straightforward to prepare on the fire.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 1 kg half-shelled frozen black mussels
  • 1 tot olive oil or butter 2 onions (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
  • 1 bell pepper (green, red or yellow, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 fresh chilli (seeds removed if you prefer, chopped)
  • 1 tot red curry paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 400 ml tin coconut cream
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • baguette (to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Rinse the mussels under cold, running water.
  2. Add the oil or butter, onion, garlic, bell pepper, chilli and curry paste to the potjie and sauté until stuff starts to brown.
  3. Add the white wine and coconut cream, and use your wooden spoon to ensure no bits of sautéed stuff are sticking to the bottom of the potjie.
  4. Now add the mussels, stir and toss them with the rest of the ingredients and close the lid of the potjie. Keep enough heat under the potjie to let the liquid in the pot boil so that the mussels steam for about 15 minutes until done. Then remove the lid and toss everything once more.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve in bowls, scooping mussels, as well as sauce into each bowl. Serve with pieces of fresh baguette to mop up the sauce. The sauce is part of the meal. For bonus points, you can lightly toast the slices of baguette on a grid over coals before serving, as this will allow for extra flavour and improved appearance.

AND …

Not all red curry pastes are created equal. You might have to use more or less to fine-tune the amount of kick in your meal! You can obviously use fresh mussels for this recipe as well, but red curry paste is quite robust in flavour, perhaps even overkill – hence my suggestion is that you save this recipe for those days when the craving for a mussel pot speaks strongly to you, and the only mussels you can find are those half-shelled frozen ones. Once the onion and his friends are browned and you’ve added and stirred in the white wine, you can also opt to use a stick blender to transform everything in the potjie into one smooth sauce before adding the cream and the mussels and proceeding with the rest of the process.

SATAY SAUCE WITH CHICKEN SOSATIES

Satay sauce with chicken sosaties Technically speaking this peanut-based sauce forms part of Asian cuisine, but I think of it as Dutch. Everyone I know in the Netherlands loves this stuff and if a piece of meat even so much as threatens that it was braaied, they dip it in or smother it with satay sauce. My view is that it goes best with braaied chicken sosaties.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes about 1½ cups of sauce)

  • 1 tot vegetable oil
  • 1 onion (very finely chopped or even grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped or crushed)
  • ½ tsp chilli powder (or 2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped)
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1 tot soy sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk

MAKE THE SAUCE

  1. Heat the oil in a small to medium-sized potjie or pan and fry the onion, garlic and chilli until soft.
  2. Next you add the brown sugar and fry until the sugar starts to caramelise.
  3. Add the peanut butter and soy sauce, and stir well. Now add the coconut milk and bring to the boil while stirring until it forms a smooth sauce. Reduce the heat by dragging away some of the coals under the potjie and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. The satay sauce in now ready to be served with braaied chicken sosaties.

HOW TO MAKE AND BRAAI CHICKEN SOSATIES

  1. Buy deboned chicken thighs or breasts and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Rub the meat with your favourite tailor-made braai salt and then skewer the meat. Cover the sosaties and leave them in your fridge until you braai them.
  2. Alternatively, just buy chicken sosaties at your favourite butchery or supermarket.
  3. Chicken sosaties made from thigh meat are juicier than those made from breast meat, so look out for those.
  4. Chicken sosaties braai in about 10 minutes over medium-hot coals and you can see the meat change in colour as it cooks.

BENCHMARK MAlVA PUDDING IN A POTJIE

Malva puddingSome time in the late 1970s food guru Michael Olivier, who was responsible for the Boschendal Restaurant, asked his friend Maggie Pepler to come and teach them how to make the original malva pudding. Ever since, it’s been a permanent fixture on their buffet menu. My malva pudding recipe is based on that original recipe and is published with Michael’s blessing. The single biggest adjustment from the original recipe is that I bake the pudding in a no. 10 flat-bottomed baking potjie on the fire, and not in a conventional oven.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 6)

For the batter:
1 cup flour
½ tot bicarbonate of soda
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tot apricot jam
1 tot vinegar
1 tot melted butter
1 cup milk

For the sauce:
½ cup cream
½ cup milk
1 cup sugar
½ cup hot water
½ cup butter

WHAT TO DO
1. Light the fire. You need fewer coals than when braaing steak, but you’ll need a steady supply of coals once the pudding is baking. Now use butter to grease your no. 10 flatbottomed baking potjie. You can see a picture of this kind of potjie on page13.
2. Sift the flour and the bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir in the sugar (you don’t need to sift the sugar).
3. In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg very well. Now add the jam, vinegar, butter and milk, whisking well after adding each ingredient.
4. Add the wet ingredients of step 3 to the dry ingredients of step 2 and mix well.
5. Pour the batter into the potjie, put on the lid and bake for 50 minutes by placing some coals underneath the potjie and some coals on top of the lid. Don’t add too much heat, as burning is a big danger. There is no particular risk in having too little heat and taking up to 1 hour to get the baking done, so rather go too slow than too fast. During this time, you can add a few fresh hot coals to the bottom and top of the potjie whenever you feel the pudding is losing steam.
6. When the pudding has been baking for about 40 minutes (about 10 minutes before it’s done), heat all the sauce ingredients in a small potjie over medium coals. Keep stirring to ensure that the butter is melted and the sugar is completely dissolved, but don’t let it boil. If you want a (slightly) less sweet pudding, use half a cup of sugar and a full cup of hot water for the sauce, instead of the other way round as per the ingredients list.
7. After about 50 minutes of baking, insert a skewer into the middle of the pudding to test whether it’s done. If the skewer comes out clean, it’s ready.
8. Take the pudding off the fire and pour the sauce evenly over it. Believe me, it will absorb all the sauce – you just need to leave it standing for a few minutes. Serve the malva pudding warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, a dollop of fresh cream or a puddle of vanilla custard. A good way to keep it hot is to put it near the fire, but not too close – after doing everything right, we don’t want it to burn now.
AND …
In the original recipe, the tot measures of apricot jam, butter and vinegar as well as the half tot of
bicarbonate of soda are all given as 1 tablespoon each. These minor changes won’t affect the outcome of the dessert but for the sake of accurately recording history, I think it’s important that we note it.

THE BRAAI CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

JanBraai Chicken TikkaChicken tikka masala is one of the most famous meals to come from a tandoori oven, which is a cylindrical clay oven heated by a fire, almost like a braai. Tikka means ‘pieces’ but chicken tikka refers to a specific meal of chicken pieces marinated in a masala spice and yoghurt, skewered and cooked in a tandoori (or, in this case, braaied). Chicken tikka masala is one of my all-time favourite curries – and sure to be one of your’s once you’ve nailed this recipe.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

The chicken:

  • 600 g deboned, skinless chicken meat (a pack of 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 tots chicken tikka masala spice (or tandoori masala or any good masala mix that is red in colour that you can find at your local spice market)
  • 1 tot lemon juice
  • about 6 skewers

The sauce:

  • 1 tot garlic
  • 1 tot ginger
  • oil or butter
  • 400 g can tomato purée (or chopped tomatoes)
  • 2–3 tots tomato paste
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tsp garam masala (This tastes different from and is slightly hotter than normal masala as it contains different ingredients and ratios of ingredients. You need to trust me that this is the masala you need for the dish so go find it at a spice market.)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional, can be less or more)
  • 2 tots ground almonds
  • salt
  • honey
  • 2 tots chopped coriander leaves (dhania)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and mix in a marinating bowl with the yoghurt, masala spice and lemon juice. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Skewer the chicken pieces (make sosaties) and braai over hot coals until done. Don’t worry about the odd black spot of caramelised chicken appearing.
  3. In a cast-iron pot or fireproof pan lightly fry the garlic and ginger in a bit of oil or butter. If there is any leftover marinade, also add this.
  4. After 2 minutes add all the other ingredients except for the salt, honey and coriander leaves. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. While it is simmering, look at the sauce and taste it. If you want to, make the following adjustments:
    • Add salt if it needs more.
    • Make the sauce hotter by adding more chilli powder and/or sweeter by adding honey.
    • To make the colour of the sauce redder add extra paprika or to make it more yellow or orange add extra turmeric.
  5. When the sauce is to your liking, starts to thicken, and the chicken is braaied, remove the skewers and add the sauce to the chicken pieces. Stir in the dhania or coriander leaves and serve with basmati rice.

AND

If you reckon you can multitask then you can obviously braai the chicken and cook the sauce concurrently.

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.

Monkeygland Boerewors Rolls

JBT_3072The world has a few famous sauces to serve with braaied meat and monkeygland sauce is one of them. What makes monkeygland sauce special is that it’s a South African invention. As is boerewors. For special-occasion boerewors rolls, I suggest you skip the normal options of chutney or tomato sauce and go for a home-made monkeygland sauce. You will not look back and neither will your guests.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)

  • about 1.2 kg high-quality boerewors
  • 6 hotdog rolls

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chutney
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • 1 tot vinegar
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • water (have some on standby in case your potjie runs dry)

WHAT TO DO

  1. In a fireproof pot or pan on the fire, fry the onion in the butter and oil for a few minutes until you like the look of it.
  2. Add all the other ingredients for the sauce, except for the water, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring fairly often to make sure it doesn’t burn. If the pot runs dry and the sauce is too thick for your liking or starts to burn, add a little bit of water.
  3. After 15 minutes of simmering, the sauce is ready to serve. You can now keep it warm or on a very gentle simmer until the boerewors is braaied and ready.
  4. Now it’s time to braai the wors. The aim is to break or pierce it as little as you can and have as juicy an end-product as possible.
    • Do not pre-cut the wors as its juices will get lost. Keep it long and coil it, or position it on the grid running back and forth like people in an airport queue.
    • The easiest method is to braai the boerewors in a hinged grid so that it can be turned without breaking. Failing that, coil it and, while it is on a flat surface, press two skewers all the way through the wors at a 90° angle to each other, effectively putting the boerewors in a little skewer cross. In this way, you can braai and turn the boerewors easily on an open grid without it breaking apart and losing juices.
    • Boerewors can be braaied on any type of heat – the braai times will just differ. I prefer fairly hot coals so the skin is crisp and snaps under your teeth while the insides are still nice and juicy. Depending on heat and wors thickness, braai time should be somewhere around 8 minutes, and you should turn it between one and five times. On pathetic third-round coals (when you are last in line at the bring-and-braai), braai time can be 20 minutes and the boerewors will still taste fine, but this should be the exception and not the norm.
    • Do not ‘pop’ the wors and let those bubbles of juice escape. If you feel that your boerewors is too fatty, then buy better boerewors in future. At the time of writing this post, the best boerewors on the market is Jan Braai Boerewors!
    • Do not overbraai it – 71 °C is perfect. If you braai it too long, it will become dry and you will kill some of the flavour. I have never been served boerewors that I thought would have benefited from being braaied longer. More often than not, people overbraai boerewors.
  5. When the boerewors is ready, the skin will be brown in most parts and grey in some.
  6. Place a piece or two of boerewors in each hotdog roll and top with a few spoons of monkeygland sauce.

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

SMOG BURGER

smog2Pizza fans will appreciate that this burger is quite clearly inspired by the SMOG pizza; Salami, Mushroom, Onion and Green Pepper. It’s a globally popular flavour combination for wood-fired pizzas and here we’re adapting it for the South African braai fire. Combine the four with some braaied chicken breasts and fresh fire-toasted rolls and you have yourself a winner!

WHAT YOU NEED: (feeds 4)

  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 2 green peppers (sliced)
  • 1 punnet mushrooms (250g, sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
  • salt and pepper (freshly ground)
  • 8–12 slices of your favourite salami
  • 1 cup cheese (aged Cheddar, sliced or grated
WHAT TO DO:
  1. Make the sauce by heating the oil and butter in a potjie or fireproof pan, then add the onion and green pepper. Sauté for a few minutes until it starts to get a nice colour and then add the mushrooms and garlic. Now toss and fry the whole lot until you like the look of it. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Place each chicken breast fillet flat on a chopping board and lightly pound the thick side with a meat mallet, wine bottle, rolling pin, side of a meat cleaver or any other item of sufficient weight and size. You want the whole fillet to be uniform in thickness and this step will make the meat easier to braai, better looking on your burger and softer to bite. Season each chicken fillet with salt and pepper or your favourite braai salt. Either brush each one with oil or simply pour a bit of oil into a bowl and toss the fillets around in it until all are coated. Braai the meat for about 8 minutes over hot coals until it is done. The nice thing about chicken breast fillets is that you can actually see the meat colour changing from raw to ready on the braai.
  3. Cut the rolls in half and toast on the braai, watching them carefully so they don’t burn.
  4. Assemble the burger in this order: Toasted roll, slices of salami, braaied chicken fillets, cheese topped with a generous helping of the onion, peppers and mushroom sauce. Positioning the cheese between the warm chicken breast and sauce will cause it to melt, which is exactly what we want.
  5. Place the lid on the burger and eat with both of your recently washed hands.
AND…
This flavour combination also works very well when you replace the chicken
breast fillets with homemade 100% beef patties.

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.

 

REVOLUTION CHICKEN

revolution-chicken2During a day-long braai session with members of the Swartland Revolution, I was introduced to this style of chicken wing eating. Although their cause is actually about wine, you will agree that this is a revolutionary way of preparing and eating chicken wings. Some caution though: this is a hot and spicy meal. We make the chicken super spicy and serve it with a sauce that both complements and cools down that spiciness. So the spice and the sauce are both essential to the meal; you can’t have one without the other. If you don’t like a bit of burn, rather leave out the cayenne pepper.

WHAT YOU NEED: (feeds about 12 as a starter snack)
  • 36 chicken wings
    FOR THE SAUCE
  • 2 cups buttermilk (1 bottle)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tots chives (freshly chopped)
  • 1 tot Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
FOR THE SPICE RUB
  • 1 tot dry garlic powder
  • 1 tot paprika
  • 1 tot mustard powder
  • 1 tot cumin
  • 1 tot salt
  • 1 tot dried thyme
  • 1 tot brown sugar
  • ½ tot cinnamon
  • ½ tot ground black pepper
  • ½ tot chilli powder or cayenne pepper
WHAT TO DO:
  1. Shake the bottle of buttermilk before opening. Pour it into a bowl and throw in all the other sauce ingredients. Mix well, cover the bowl and put it in your fridge.
  2. Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a glass jar and shake well.
  3. Braai the chicken wings for about 20 minutes over medium-hot coals, turning often until cooked through. Do not add any spice or sauce to the chicken wings before the braai. Just braai them as is. The spice mixture of this meal turns brown and looks burnt very quickly so we can’t have it on the chicken the whole time it is braaing otherwise it will burn way before the chicken is cooked.
  4. Take the chicken off the grid and place in a braai bowl. Dust the chicken wings generously with half the spice mixture, making sure everything is properly covered. Please note, you need to use only half of the spice mixture to accomplish this so keep the other half of the mix for next time Use a wooden spoon to toss the wings around and make sure there is spice in all the corners and crevices of all the chicken wings.
  5. Once done, get the wings back onto the grid and braai them for a few more minutes until the spice gets a nice colour on both sides. Although the spices will not actually burn, be vigilant as they will very easily get the appearance of having been burnt. Don’t overbraai: remember, the meat is already cooked through; we just want to toast the spices at this point. As soon as the spices are all toasted and looking good on the chicken, proceed to the next step.
  6. Move the chicken wings from the grid onto a platter and artfully pour some of the dressing over them. You might prefer to also have extra sauce on the side so that guests may help themselves to some addition

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