Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dinner via South Africa

Honestly, I can't believe I haven't shared my recipe for bobotie yet!  The Tipsy Cupcake is just over two years in the making [that's right, happy birthday to us!] and it's shocking to me that I never thought to blog one of my personal favorite dishes that really does hold a special place in my heart.

When I was starting out my restaurant career, I was managing a continental African-themed restaurant in Walt Disney World at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Up until that point, I thought I had a worldly understanding of food, but my three years here taught me I was a bit naive in my definition of "ethnic cuisine."  It wasn't the restaurant's menu itself that truly expanded my horizons, it was my staff - comprised of exchange students from South Africa, Botswana, Setswana, Namibia and Morocco.  While my overall experience at Disney was a roller coaster of ups and downs (that's a story unto itself), my time at the lodge was enhanced ten-fold because of the people I was privileged enough to work with.  Yes, the menu of the restaurant itself gave me a foundational understanding of African food, which prior, I was completely clueless about, but the dishes were adapted for an American palate.  It wasn't until I was inspired to travel there, prompted by my staff, that I really began to understand their food for the incredibly flavorful creations they were.

On of my favorite dishes I learned to make on my travels, and coincidently one of the signature dishes of South Africa, is bobotie (pronounced bo-boy-et-tee).  It's a warmly spiced meat and egg dish, similar to a loosely cooked omelet that has a slight sweetness and an incredibly rich depth of flavor.  It's a dish that's very easy to adapt to personal tastes as well - traditionally made with lamb or beef, I typically use bison meat.  I've also replaced the bread in the recipe with a paleo-friendly almond flour bread with great results.


1 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb ground beef
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1/2 apple, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon ground cardamon, divided*
1 tablespoon cinnamon, divided*
1 tablespoon coriander, divided*
1 tablespoon garlic powder, divided*
1 teaspoon anise seed, divided*
3 slices bread
1/2 cup light cream
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/2 tablespoon sea salt

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large skillet, sauté the onion, shallot, apple and bay leaves in the olive oil until they begin to become translucent; remove the bay leaves and set aside
- Add your beef and lamb and simmer until fully browned
- Season the meat mixture with salt, pepper, cardamon, cinnamon, garlic powder, coriander and anise
- Soak your bread in the light cream and add remaining spices and add to the meat mixture
- Spread the mixture into an even layer in a 9x12 baking dish
- Stir in your raisins and almonds, evenly distributing them
- Whisk your milk, eggs, curry, turmeric and sea salt together and pour into the baking dish
- Garnish with bay leaves
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until your eggs are loosely set

*Penzeys Spices makes a blend called Balti Spice that is a perfect seasoning for bobotie and can replace  all asterix-ed  ingredients

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