Waterblommetjie & Lamb Bredie (Small Water Flower & Lamb Stew)
It isn’t everyday that a large box is delivered to your door that does not include office related matter or obligations. And no ordinary box too, a stylish one tied with a silky ribbon. And on the inside, you wonder? A set of ingredients to make a local Cape indigenous dish (including mini cooler box compartment) and a handmade jar of fresh spice paste, with recipe instructions from the chef at Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat and a bottle of Bouchard Finlayson (a boutique winery in the Hemel-en-Aarde, Hermanus region of the Cape) Hannibal 2008.
I allowed myself a a few moments to linger over the sheer fabulousness of the gift – there are few boxed things that can top a thoughtfully arranged package of good food and wine, hand-delivered. And those boxes (as my husband knows) are really, really tiny.
I have never prepared waterblommetjies (small water flowers) before, despite having bought them only to feed them into the compost heap. Waterblommetjies are thought to have been eaten by the Khoi people and incorporated into bredies or stews later, sometimes with meat like lamb. The recipe I received used them alone; I added lamb to mine. The final result was a creamy thai style massaman (I say this only because of the addition of potatoes) “curry” and the waterblommetjies were very much like tender artichokes, a vegetable I love! My husband absolutely loved this dish (you may know by now that he adores coconut milk based dishes).
The wine pairing was bold and challenging, and the wine sublime.
I adapted the recipe as follows (apologies, I hardly stick to any recipe 100% to the letter, even when I remake my own dishes,)
400 g waterblommetjies
500 g lamb cubes
30 ml butter
15 ml olive oil, plus extra
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (my addition)
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small blocks
2 T curry paste (I added 4 T)
400 ml coconut milk
1 can peeled and chopped tomatoes (my addition)
3/4 t sugar
16 small vine tomatoes
Rinse waterblommetjies and soak in lightly salted water for 30 minutes to an hour.
In a large heavy based pan on medium-high heat heat the olive oil and fry the lamb cubes in batches till browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Heat butter on medium-low, in same pan. Add a splash of olive oil. Fry onions till soft.
Add garlic and potatoes and stir.
Stir in coconut milk, curry paste, salt and simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.
Rinse waterblommetjies well. In a pot of salted water, boil till al dente, in much the same way you would pasta. This should take 6 -8 minutes. Refresh under cold water.
Add the canned tomatoes, sugar, lamb, more salt as needed and cook for 40 minutes on medium-low heat with the lid almost fully closed.
When the potatoes are soft and the lamb tender, add the waterblommetjies and vine tomatoes. Cook for 6-10 minutes with the lid off, allowing the liquid to thicken.
Adjust seasoning. I left my bredie to cool with the lid on and served it the next day.
Serve with basmati rice and a fruit chutney.
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