Veldkos grows in the sand dunes up the west coast and its season is midwinter. If you are not able to source veldkos, then asparagus would do the same job.
We had a visit to Oep ve Koep at Die Winkel at Paternoster over the weekend and owner Kobus van der Merwe gave us a bag of veldkool, freshly harvested. Not unlike thin weedy asparagus in appearance. Our friend Betsie Rood, that enthusiastic cookery book writer, often used to talk about veldkool. It was the first time we had eaten veldkool, let alone have the opportunity to cook with it. I turned the veldkool into a bredie. According to Renate Coetzee, food historian, bredie was a Malay word which meant spinach. Eric Rosenthal says it is Malagasy, and probably the only Malagasy word we have in our language. Yet others, like the Oxford Dictionary, say it is from the Portuguese bredo. Wherever it comes from, this is a delicious dish
400 g veldkool, trachyanda sp, or substitute asparagus
8 thick slices of lamb shoulder – weight about 1kg
Salt, I use Oryx Desert Salt Medium
Fresh ground back pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and mashed with salt
2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and quartered
200g fine green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half crossways
3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 litre NoMU Fond Lamb Stock
kneaded butter, equal quantities of soft butter and flour mixed together.
What to do
Wash the veldkos really well in at least four changes of water to remove the dune sand. Make the last two washes with luke warm water. Preheat the oven to 160C. Score the edges of the meat to prevent curling during the baking period. Season the meat well with the desert salt and black pepper and sprinkle both sides with flour. Pat to remove the excess flour.
In a large casserole, I used a 34cm oval Le Creuset cast iron casserole, heat the oil over medium heat and in it brown the meat well on both side. Get a good caramel brown as this will add to the flavour. Remove to a plate while you brown the onions, towards the end of the browning, add the garlic. When the onions are well caramelised, place the meat on top and any juices it might have collected on the plate. Add the potatoes, the carrots and two thirds of the beans and half the veldkos, the bay leaves and the thyme. Pour over the lamb stock. Bring to the boil, cover with the lid and place in the preheated oven for one hour. Blanch the remaining beans and veldkos in boiling water for about 5 minutes an place on top of the meat. Cover again and then bake for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is really tender. Thicken the sauce by adding teaspoonsful of the kneaded butter and boil for a while to the correct thickness and to cook out the flour.
Serve with white rice.
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