When I was a kid, my mom cooked a bredie every week; sometimes twice a week. My siblings and I would groan, “Not again!” but once we had a mouthful of fluffy rice, we’d come back for more. We often mopped up our tomato bredie with squished slices of freshly baked 7-Eleven bread with lots of butter. Bliss! My gran served hers with lumpy mash, which was pretty awesome too.
A bredie is a traditional Cape Malay dish that is a South Africa favourite. It’s pretty much a mutton or lamb stew slow cooked with a vegetable such as cabbage, tomato, green beans, pumpkin or waterblommetjies.
Tips for a good bredie
1. Use meat on the bone, as it has so much more flavour. Lamb knuckles and neck are great for bredies.
2. Always brown the meat before slow-cooking (to seal, to give colour and to add flavour).
3. Braise the onions well until they are completely soft to release all the natural sugars that make bredies so sweet and delicious.
4. The use of spices such as coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom is very traditional.
5. Don’t cook with too much liquid/stock. It dilutes the flavour, so only add as you need.
6. Cook slowly and gently in a heavy-based casserole pot on the stovetop, in the oven or even a potjie until the meat is tender (usually about 2 hours, but the longer the better). It works well in a pressure cooker too, if you’re pressed for time.
7. Use floury potatoes in bredies for the texture.
Here are 3 of my favourite bredie recipes:
Lamb and cabbage bredie – For a twist, I add bacon to mine and serve it with yellow rice and raisins.
Tomato bredie – A combination of tender lamb, sweet tomatoey sauce and soft potatoes.
Waterblommetjie bredie – When waterblommetjies are in season, this bredie is a must-try for every South African.
What is your favourite bredie?
For more comfort food inspiration, follow Carey Boucher-Erasmus on Instagram, @bitsofcarey.