BROWN STEW: THE ULTIMATE
For me, brown stew is probably the
most comforting food ever.
Call it tradition, call it heritage, call it culture
if it pleases you, but damn, nothing comforts my soul
like a delicious brown stew.
It is also a very cost-effective,
easy and nourishing meal.
All you need is meat, onions, potatoes, salt and pepper.
Geez, you can even do without the pepper.
The secret to a really good brown
stew lies in the onions.
500g lamb or beef
2-4 medium sized onions
4 medium potatoes
salt and pepper
Stick cinnamon and whole all spice (optional)
Like I said, the secret lies in the onions.
Use as many onions as you fancy. The more, the merrier.
Place a little bit of cooking oil
in a heavy-based pot.
Braise the onions on a fairly high, but not too hot
Some people insist that you can put
the onions and meat in the pot at the same time.
I strongly disagree.
The reason for this?
Taste a raw onion.
Now taste a braised onion.
That is the difference.
If you put the meat into the pot at
the same time as the onion, the meat will absorb the
flavour of raw onion. We want the meat to absorb the
flavour of braised onions.
So be patient. Braise the onions until
they are deliciously brown. Stir regularly.
Do not add water.
Adding water speeds up the browning process, but it
defeats the purpose. We want braised onions. Not boiled
I like to add two pieces of stick cinnamon and four
whole all spice to the onions for extra flavour, but
this is optional. It is just as good without.
When the onions are nicely browned
(it may take up to twenty minutes), add the meat and
seal it on all sides by stirring and tossing it to
mix well with the onions.
Add a cup of water and leave to cook,
covered on a medium heat. Occasionally stir and add
water if necessary.
Cook lamb for at least an hour and a half. Two-hours
or more for beef.
Add potatoes, salt and pepper to taste,
adjust water and cook for another half an hour, or
until the potatoes are cooked.
You can add many different vegetables
to this basic recipe for variation.
Veggies that work well without any further additional
spices or stuff include;
Peas and carrots
And of course water blommetjies!