Monday, December 5, 2011


Bredie - South Africa's slow-simmered stew, featuring lamb and a seasonal vegetable.

You'll find variations on the theme in the sidebar: spinach bredie, tomato bredie, pigweed bredie...each defined by its vegetable and some minimalist spice-pairings. Ginger, sometimes, a chile. A clove of garlic...

Although it's hard to choose a favourite, I love green bean bredie. But you mustn't picture al dente beans, grass-grean and barely pliable. Here, the beans have fallen apart in a khaki tangle by the time they touch your lips. And they are luscious, melted, lemony, succulent with lamb fat.

For Two, with leftovers

1.5 lbs lamb shoulder chop, or ribs
1 onion, finely sliced
1 bunch scallions (spring onions), thinly sliced
Half a cup cilantro stems, chopped finely
5 juniper berries
1 lb green beans
4 small hot chiles, intact (or 1 Tbsp dried chile flakes)
Water, or white wine
3 medium potatoes, quartered
1 lemon's juice
Salt, pepper

Brown the lamb in its own fat. That is, heat a pan till smoky, add the salt-sprinkled chops, turn after a minute. Add the onions and the juniper, stir a little to coat with fat, and add the beans, chiles, water or wine. Cover and cook at a steady but gentle simmer for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes,  cover again and shove into a 400' oven (this is not typical - but I like to do it for browning purposes).

Cook another half hour, remove lid, taste, and cook farther 15 minutes. You still want the liquid as a sauce to coat your side of rice, barley or...polenta (why not?). I vote for barley.

A good, bright salad with this would be grated carrot dressed with orange and lemon juice juice and spiked with raisins. Or flatleaf parsley and finely-sliced onions sprinkled with salt and sumac.

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