Bobotie, is a sweet-spicy-savory South African dish that has as its base ground meat, usually lamb, onions, bay leaf, chutney, numerous spices including curry powder, coriander and turmeric. While many authentic dishes were hard to find in South Africa, with the end of apartheid, many indigenous dishes are now re-emerging, even becoming fashionable! This dish appealed to me because I really like lamb, but think many of my readers may not have tried it and this dish is a very non-intimidating way to try lamb. The dish is simple enough to make on a work night and unique enough for company. It has layer upon layer of flavor, complex and yet familiar. I found numerous recipes, each one a bit different, but many of the basic components were similar so I combined them in a way that appealed to me, yet kept the dish authentic.
The dish turned out amazing, but comfort food needs a carb so I also made Buss Up Shut, a Trinidadian (checking out their tourism site, made want to try it there-see photo left- but alas, no time to travel)bread with a name that represents this roti-type bread's resemblance to a busted up shirt. This bread is an awesome accompaniment to bobotie, adding a rich and savory component that complements the spicy-sweet flavors of the meat dish. And given that our country is a melting pot, I think it is perfect to combine dishes from two different cultures to make an amazing meal so delicious it crosses boundaries!
1 lb ground lamb or beef (you should really try the lamb, it has a sweeter, richer flavor)
1 stalk celery chopped
1 large carrot chopped or shredded
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chutney
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbsp sweet and hot peppers chopped
1 tbsp curry powder (I used Jamaican hot, but Indian would work fine too)
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup almonds (I used whole, but I think next time I would use slivered or sliced)
1 tsp grated lemon rind
Salt and black pepper
Put oil into a pan, and brown lamb, until caramelized and brown, then add chopped vegetables, bay leaf, peppers, garlic and spices, stirring until the veggies start to brown. Add chutney, broth, and raisins and let cook for 10 minutes. Add almonds and taste. Salt and pepper to taste and add 1 tsp of grated lemon rind. Adjust seasonings or add more sweet hot peppers to get the heat you want. Serve in a bowl Serves 4
Note: Traditionally bobotie is served with either yellow rice or topped with a thin omelet made with egg whipped with half and half.
Buss Up Shut (Busted-up Shirt) Roti
2 cups white wheat flour (King Arthur, of course)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp softened butter
3/4 c water
1. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your fingers, work 3 tablespoons of the butter into the flour, then add the water and knead in the bowl to form a smooth, soft dough.
2. Cover the dough with a towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and set them on a floured surface to rest again.
4. Roll each ball of dough on the floured counter as thinly as possible into a 9-inch rounds. Spread each round with a thin layer of butter and dust with flour, then roll each round into a tight cone. fold each end into the center and flatten . Sprinkle with more flour, cover with a clean towel and let rest again for 30 minutes.
So what is harder than making an exotic dish including bread in a food blogging competition including some of the best cooks around? Doing it with two of your fingers taped together!! That was my challenge after an accidental fall on an escalator on the DC metro left me with a damaged tendon in the joint of the middle finger of my left hand. Not sure what was harder- chopping or typing, but seeing the final dish, and especially watch the roti puff up exactly the way it was supposed to was a real thrill.