Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Waterblommetjie Bredie

Waterblommetjie Bredie

When it comes to stews, I believe us South Africans have a firm upper hand. We are the kings (and queens) of a wide array of comforting bredies (Afrikaans for stew - say brear-dee) that will warm the coldest of hearts.

From Tamatie Bredie (tomato stew), Boontjie Bredie (bean stew - much tastier than it sounds, promise!), to the somewhat more quirky ones like Waterblommetjie Bredie, you name it, and we've probably added it to the pot. 

But what is waterblommetjies (say - vah-tir-blohm-mee-keys) you ask? 

Well, it's an aquatic flower, indigenous to South Africa, and literally means "small water flower". Yup, just like the peppadews I told you about, this is another proudly South African ingredient. The taste is rather similar to green beans, with a hint of lemon. Unfortunately, the waterblommetjie season is very short, so when I see them for sale I don't even think twice before grabbing a bag. Or two. Hey, don't judge.

Waterblommetjie Bredie

The traditional waterblommetjie stew has very little in the way of spices, consisting of mutton or lamb - preferably on the bone, with generous bits of fat attached to the meat - paired with potatoes and the star of the show, waterblommetjies. The meat, through long slow cooking, becomes meltingly tender and together with the earthy potatoes and uniquely flavourful waterblommetjies, you've got a meal fit for a king.

My rendition is somewhat less traditional. A little bit fusion if you will. It's not my fault, really. I fully intended to do a traditional bredie, but that wasn't how the stars aligned. You see, I came across some gleaming black dried olives and once I got the idea into my head, it wouldn't accept no for an answer. I'm Marisa and I'm a slave to my (foodie) emotions. It's a cross I have to bear. Salty dried olives practically begged for another Moroccan flavour and, as the stew normally contains lemon juice, I thought a touch of preserved lemon wouldn't go amiss either.

Waterblommetjie Bredie

I am happy to report that my mad fusion skills paid off - the flavours worked fantastically well together. Those waterblommetjies are real diplomats too. They didn't even mind some foreigners muscling in on their hallowed territory. To be fair, with foreigners as tasty as these two, I doubt anyone would mind...
Waterblommetjie Bredie
Serves 4 - 6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped 
800g stewing lamb or mutton on the bone, cut into smaller pieces if necessary
salt and pepper, to taste
3 large potatoes, cut into bite-size cubes  
1/4 cup quartered dried olives 
1/4 preserved lemon, finely chopped
3 cups waterblommetjies, thoroughly rinsed
2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup red wine
1/4 - 1/2 cup water 
2 fresh lemons, quartered to serve

1. Heat half the oil in a large pot, add onion and saute briefly until starting to soften. Remove and set aside. 
2. Add rest of oil and half of the lamb, searing on both sides. Remove and repeat with rest of the lamb. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Now start layering in your slowcooker (crockpot) - first add the onions, followed by the lamb, potatoes, olives, preserved lemon and waterblommetjies. 
4. Pour in lemon juice, red wine and 1/4 cup water, cover and cook on highest setting for approximately 6 hours, adding more water if necessary. Alternatively the stew can be cooked in a large pot on the stove top, in which case it'll take approximately 2 hours on low heat.

Serve warm with rice and fresh lemon quarters to squeeze over. Sucking on the bones to get to the last little bits of meat is highly encouraged.


Joanne on May 26, 2010 1:45 am said...

You guys definitely do stew better than anyone I know. This looks like comfort food to me. I love the lamb and the preserved lemon.

nina on May 26, 2010 4:38 am said...

Look my dad a true Dutchman will probably protest against this "volksvreemde kos", but I think it can be quite a interesting combo. Well done for trying!!

Marisa on May 26, 2010 8:54 am said...

Joanne - I am such a huge fan of preserved lemon! Don't know what I did without it.

Nina - Yup, I'll admit, it's volksvreemd! But as they say - variety is the spice of life.

polkadotcupcake on May 26, 2010 10:02 am said...

Ah, Marisa. As usual your mad foodie skills bring you to the point of deliciousness! TheHusband must count himself a lucky man to have married such a culinary wonder! And slow-cooked too?! What bliss!

And those doilies gave me a good giggle too - so fitting! I think my MIL-to-be has a VAST collection!

Juno on May 26, 2010 12:22 pm said...

Lovely post and fabulous recipe, as always. There is nothing like a mutton stew in cold weather.

Bakstein said...

Ja Marisa, dis 'n wonderlike Afrikaanse gereg, maar ek voel uitgebuit as ek die prys van die blommetjies in die winkel sien. Dis 'n rip-off in my opinie.

Marisa on May 26, 2010 1:02 pm said...

Polkadotcupcake - TheHusband knows he's a very lucky man! I've trained him well... ;-)

Juno - Too true. I'd forgotten how lovely slowcooked mutton can be.

Bakstein - Goeie punt ja! Alhoewel, ek het R30 betaal vir 'n enorme sak (by Spar nogal). Het net die helfte nodig gehad vir die bredie en het nog oor vir bredie nr 2 of vir 'n lekker sop. So dis darem nie te sleg nie..

Koek! on May 26, 2010 1:48 pm said...

What a GORGEOUS recipe! I went hunting all over for waterblommetjies on Sunday because I became obsessed with making bredie - first to Fruit & Veg in town, then to PNP in Constantia... Could not find them ANYWHERE much to my frustration. If I ever do get hold of some I'll be sure to give your 'mad' fusion a try :-)

Valerie on May 26, 2010 3:13 pm said...

It's very hot and humid right now yet I would still love to have a bowl of this stew! Black olives and lemon are indeed quite the charming foreigners. If I were food, I would happily make room for them on my plate too. :D

souldiaries on May 26, 2010 5:20 pm said...

Hey Marisa sounds really delicious. Where did you get your waterblommetjies from please? Cant seem to find them at the mo. But I may just take your advice and do it with beans instead...(i found the dry olives at wellness warehouse the other day, but finished eating them before i coud use them with anything!! ;)

Marisa on May 26, 2010 5:27 pm said...

Koek - Hope you get hold of them! They're not available in all the stores, but they definitely are in season at the moment. I found them at Spar of all places.

Valerie - I have such a love affair with preserved lemon it's not even funny...

Soul Diaries - I bought mine at Spar, but saw them at Checkers as well. Should think any of the bigger Fruit & Veg would stock them too.

elra on May 26, 2010 6:10 pm said...

I think I can learn so much about Authentic SA dishes through your blog Marissa. My husband will be so thrill.

Arnold on May 26, 2010 6:17 pm said...

I have eaten waterblommetjies on a number of occasions and I really enjoyed it. I have however never tried to prepare them myself. They are difficult to get hold of (especially in Gauteng) but should I find some I will definitely be trying your recipe.

Bakstein said...

Dit klink my ons shop by dieselfde Spar in die Bosch.

ms_kamini on September 07, 2010 2:39 pm said...

I loved the crocheted table mat!

Thanks for the link

Ruby on September 29, 2010 6:26 pm said...

Wow - I'm making sure next time I visit South Africa it's the right season for these, and then I'm making sure my brother damn well finds me some so we can cook this up. It looks a-MAY-zing and especially with the Moroccan spin (LOVE olives). So glad to have found your blog - you're going on my roll (which isn't 'live' yet, still being compiled - check in a week or two!). Baie Dankie for your thumbs up on my bobotie - it really meant a lot! :-)

Marisa on October 17, 2010 11:31 am said...

My (say: may) plesier (pluh-see-er)! (my pleasure)

If your brother can't find the fresh waterblommetjies we have them tinned
over here as well which is available year round. So no excuses. ;-)

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