Saturday, August 17, 2013

Waterblommetjiebredie (Cape pondweed stew)

One of the things I look forward to the most about winters in Cape Town is Waterblommetjie season and the delicious lamb stews that use this weird South African ingredient.  This is my recipe for potjiekos using lamb and waterblommetjie. It feeds 4 people and takes 3h45 to prepare and cook.


1kg fresh waterblommetjie leaves
1.2kg lamb knuckles
2 celery stalks with their leaves, diced
1 white onion, cut in rings
4 medium leaks, cut in 1cm pieces
10 pealed baby potatoes
1 can butter beans
1 litre chicken stock
1 handful of fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp mixed peppercorns, lightly crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup flour


Soak the waterblommetjie leaves in lightly salted water for 45 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.  Do not skip this because there might be bugs in the leaves.

In a big prep bowl dust the lamb knuckles with the flour so that they are evenly covered.  

Heat up a size 3 cast iron potjie pot and brown the meat using some of the oil.  When the meat is browned remove it from the pot and set aside somewhere far away from dogs and flies.

Add a little more oil to the pot if its looking dry and then add the leaks, onion and celery and stir occasionally until the onions are starting to go translucent.  

Add the thyme sprigs and stir them gently into the mix for 60s and then remove everything from the pot and set aside.

Put the meat back in the pot, stacking the knuckles around the edges so that there is a hollow in the middle and add the potatoes.

Cover the potatoes with the onion, leak, celery and thyme mixture

 Fill the rest of the pot with the waterblommetjie

Pour the can of butter beans in the middle of the waterblommetjie and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Pour the chicken stock over the butter beans washing the salt and pepper further down into the layers.

Close the pot and let it simmer very lightly for the next 2.5 hours, checking in occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid (you must be able to see the liquid a few cm below the level of the waterblommetjies)

Serve with rice or fresh baked bread. Enjoy!

(Thanks to Matt Trow for reminding me its not a water flower but a pond weed)