“Boontjie bredie” – lamb & green bean stew

Cooler weather called for a warm, aromatic stew and since I had green beans in my fridge it was the perfect excuse to cook a meal that hold so many wonderful childhood memories.

This dish, a winter favourite consisting of lamb, green beans & potatoes, is just one of the many dishes customary to my South-African heritage. Traditionally cooked for a few hours in an aromatic broth of clove and nutmeg and served with fluffy white rice, it is cooked differently in every household after being passed down many generations.
It is certainly not the most attractive of dishes but it boasts beautiful aromatic flavour and will, undoubtedly, become one of your winter go-to recipes. An easy, delicious and comforting one pot wonder that will be enjoyed by everyone sitting around your dining table.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1.2kg lamb stewing meat or lamb knuckle
3T flour
500g green beans, sliced
3 large potatoes, cubed
1/2C dry white wine
2C chicken stock
5 whole cloves
1t ground nutmeg
5 thyme sprigs, leaves only
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
good grind of black pepper (don’t be shy)
2T olive oil + extra for browning meat
1T butter
white rice to serve

how to
Dredge the meat with the flour. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot and brown the meat, in batches, using a little more oil for each batch.
Set the meat aside.
Heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and the butter and sauté the onion until glossy. About 2 minutes.
Add the white wine and deglaze the pot, scraping the bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Reduce to half.
Add the garlic, cloves, nutmeg & thyme and cook for about 3 minutes while stirring.
Pour the stock into the pot followed by the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes & green beans, stir to combine and season with salt & pepper. Cover with the lid and cook for 1 hour. Move the lid only a little to the side allowing steam to escape (this will thicken the sauce a little, if necessary) and cook for a further 30 minutes until the lamb is tender and the potatoes are well cooked.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the lemon juice and gently stir.

Serve with fluffy white rice or mashed potato.

Chilli con Carne

As we are heading into winter I am busy going through my winter recipe book in preparation. I love winter dishes! The warmth and decadence of stews and hearty soups. So many great ideas and recipes to choose from. Chilli con carne, however, is an all-seasons dish for me! In summer I serve it with summer veggies, cabbage or crusty bread and in winter I almost always serve it alongside rice or mashed potato. I never fail to make a garlic guacamole to go with it and to top it all off – always some freshly baked crusty bread!! What a treat!! Any leftovers can be gulped up the next day with either a pasta and some parmesan or with a baked potato or simply served on butter toast with some grated cheddar cheese.

Ingredients (serves 4)
Olive oil
500g Beef mince
1 Shallot onion, finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 Tbs Tomato paste
1 Can chopped tomato
1/2 Red pepper, cubed
1/4 Tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 Tsp Red chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 Tsp Marjoram
1 Tsp Ground cumin
2 Tbs Brown sugar
2 Tsp Paprika
1/4 C Red wine
200ml Beef stock
1 Can red kidney beans
Black pepper
Sour cream to serve
Fresh coriander, leaves only (garnish)

How to do it
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and fry onions & garlic for about 2 minutes, on medium heat. Add the tomato paste, red pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, paprika & cumin and stir through. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the beef mince and brown. Add the beef stock, red wine, canned tomato, marjoram & brown sugar and stir through.
Bring to the boil, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, place the lid on and leave for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain & rinse the kidney beans and stir it through the sauce. Allow the mixture to gently simmer without the lid for about 10 minutes. Now add the seasoning of salt & pepper.
Serve with your choice of starch or veggies and a dollop of sour cream or guacamole and top with fresh coriander.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Colourful green beans & mange tout

A tasty and healthy side dish that pairs really well with just about anything. I love the colour, the garlic and the toasted pumpkin seeds that bring this dish together. Blanching is a cooking method that I use fairly often. It really just locks in the beautiful colour of the fruit / vegetables and so I use this method in this recipe. This can also be served as a cold salad – simply add a few rocket leaves and some slivered almonds. A very healthy and delicious salad indeed!
I also added crumblings of feta cheese about 1 minute before I removed it from the heat and then garnished it with fresh parsley.
A drizzle of lemon butter brings this tasty side to another level. So go on, try it! Really simple. Really delicious. And oh so worth it!!

Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 Tbs Butter
3 Tbs Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, sliced
Green beans, topped & tailed
2 Handfuls mange tout
Small red tomatoes
1/4 C Pumpkin seeds
1 Round feta cheese
Handful fresh parsley, leaves only, chopped
Black pepper

How to do it
Bring salted water to a boil in a skillet. Add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock in a bowl of ice & water. Remove and set aside. Heat olive oil & butter in a skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss for a minute. Add the beans, mange tout & tomatoes, season with salt & pepper and toss for 6 minutes. Crumble feta on top, toss for one more minute. Remove from the heat and garnish with the parsley.