(South African curried meat casserole)
Image by John Mountjoy
Every South African cook has his or her own favorite version of this dish, some very simple, others quite elaborate. Bobotie is typically served with geelrys (yellow rice) and a side of mango chutney.
6 to 8 servings
- Oil -- 2-3 tablespoons
- Onions, thinly sliced -- 2
- Ground beef -- 2 pounds
- White bread, crust removed and cut into cubes -- 2-3 slices
- Milk -- 1 cup
- Vinegar or lemon juice -- 1/4 cup
- Raisins -- 1/2 cup
- Sugar -- 2 tablespoons
- Curry powder -- 1-2 tablespoons
- Turmeric -- 1 teaspoons
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Bay leaves -- 5
- Eggs, beaten -- 2
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and just starting to brown. Add the ground beef and break it up while sautéing until cooked through and crumbly. Remove from heat, drain of any excess fat and place in a large bowl.
- Put the bread and milk in a bowl and soak for 5-10 minutes. Remove the bread and squeeze it dry, adding squeezed milk back into the bowl.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Add the soaked bread, vinegar or lemon juice, raisins, sugar, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper to the bowl with the cooked meat and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. The meat should have a pleasantly sweet-sour flavor.
- Pour the meat mixture into a greased casserole dish and smooth out the top. Lay the bay leaves over the meat in a decorative pattern and press down lightly to make them stick. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Beat the eggs with the reserved bread-soaking milk. After the meat has baked for 30 minutes, pour the egg-milk mixture over the top of the meat and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the custard is set and lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot with geelrys and mango chutney.
- Add a couple tablespoons of mango chutney or apricot preserves to the meat if you like. A grated apple is also sometimes added.
- Stir a handful of toasted, slivered almonds into the meat mixture before cooking, or garnish the finished dish with toasted almonds.
- One or two beaten eggs can also be stirred into the meat mixture if you like.
- Substitute lemon leaves for the bay leaves if you can find them.
- Use ground lamb in place of the beef.