Waterblommetjie bredie is a uniquely South African stew. This recipe is an amalgamation of a number of recipes that I found – I chose the ingredients I liked best and arranged the method as I went along. Waterblommetjies or ‘little water flowers’ as directly translated from Afrikaans, are native to South Africa’s Western Cape province and this recipe is a great tradition in the Cape, where the blommetjies fill ponds and dams during winter and spring. Through long, slow cooking, the meat becomes meltingly tender, and together with the earthy potatoes and the subtle yet flavourful waterblommetjies, you end up with a deliciously hearty winter-warmer!
Soak waterblommetjies in a bowl of salted, cold water (I use about 1 tablespoon of salt) for one hour. Then rinse under cold water and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180C. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based pan. Flour the lamb knuckles by rolling or patting them in seasoned (salt and pepper) flour, then brown them in batches in the olive oil and transfer to an oven-proof casserole dish.
Add the onion, garlic, cayenne pepper and coriander to the pan and fry gently until the onion is translucent. Transfer the onion mix to the casserole dish. (Deglaze the pan with a splash of the wine, to scrape up any bits and add to the casserole dish).
Add wine, stock and potatoes to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Drain the potatoes and set aside. Add the liquid to the casserole dish. Place the casserole in the oven and leave to cook for 1 hour.
Once the hour is up, add the potatoes and half the waterblommetjies to the casserole and cook for 30 minutes. Then add the rest of the waterblommetjies and the lemon juice and cook for a further 30 minutes. (If the gravy is too thin, add 1-2 tablespoons of corn flour, mixed with a little water).
The last step is to add the watercress and return the casserole to the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with fresh watercress and serve on a bed of rice with vegetables of your choice on the side.
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