Lamb & Tomato Bredie, my way

The perfect Coeur de Boeuf Tomato photographed for me by Jamie Schler

The perfect Coeur de Boeuf or Ox Heart Tomato
photographed for me by Jamie Schler

Perfect for the stormy weather we are experiencing is a Bredie, both the word and the stew, which is of Malay origin.  A bredie is a thick fully flavoured meat stew, usually made from a fattier cut of lamb and named for the vegetable which is the other main ingredient, the sauce usually thickened by potato.  Green or dried Beans, tomatoes, pumpkin and even quinces, cabbage or cauliflower are regular ingredients.  Waterblommetjies [Aponogeton distachyos] found in ponds and dams in the Cape in early Spring, make a delicious bredie, and is usually flavoured with wild sorrel juice, tangy and rich in Vitamin C.  Wild sorrel leaves [containing oxalic acid] were also used for cleaning copper and brass from which measuring and jam boiling utensils were made.

You’ll need
1.5 kg Lamb [1/3 thick rib bone in, 2/3 boned shoulder]
3 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic sliced
a 2cm piece of fresh green ginger peeled & finely chopped
1 Tbs sunflower oil
2 cardamom seeds
4 coriander seeds
6 black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp fresh, crushed, thyme
1 tsp fresh, chopped, marjoram
2 small chilis red or green, seeded & chopped
Oryx Desert salt
freshly milled black pepper & fresh-grated nutmeg to taste
500ml demi glace, or rich brown beef stock
750ml tomato juice from the tin below
500g medium potatoes, peeled & quartered
Canned, peeled, tomatoes, [1250g net weight with juice]
1 Tbs mild fruit chutney
1 Tbs soft brown sugar.

What you’ll do
In a casserole, on top of the stove, brown all the meat, a few pieces at a time in the oil over medium heat. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate.  Fry the onions very slowly in the oil for a while to caramelise, then add garlic and ginger and fry until golden. Add a little more oil, though only if necessary. Just before they are done, add the cardamom, coriander, peppercorns, fennel, thyme, marjoram and chili. Stir-fry for a short while. Pour off any excess oil before continuing.  Return the meat and its juices to the casserole and season lightly with salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg.  Add the demi glace or stock and the tomato juice and cover. Braise gently over low heat, checking for burning or in a 180C oven for an hour and a half.  Remove from the oven.  If you have the time, cool quickly and refrigerate overnight – this is an important step to mature the flavours.  It gives you the opportunity to remove the cold solidified fat of the top and helps to tenderise the meat and makes it cook faster the next day.  Next day, reheat the casserole gently in a 180C oven before adding the roughly chopped tomatoes and potatoes. Simmer gently for one and a half hours or until the meat is tender.  Stir gently to mix through well. Add the chutney and brown sugar, reseason with salt and freshly milled black pepper if necessary.

Serve with steamed white rice. And a green vegetable.  And a glass of good red wine!

Serves 6 people.

My wine recommendation – click here

Grand Vin de Glenelly 2009

Grand Vin de Glenelly 2009