Most South Africans’ favourite form of entertainment is still chucking a chop on the coals and watching rugby. I have been to so many braais in the past, and I must admit, I still love it.
And, like most dinner party situations, there can never be enough side dishes. Some are marvellous and some unforgettably and hauntingly terrible. I was once served (what I thought to be) a lovely little Ceaser salad and to my dismay it had tiny little pieces of chopped up bokkom strewn about – utterly inedible.
Braaivleis can also turn into a disaster if it is left to be cooked by noisy, messy and drunk men. These braai men often refuse to take the meat off the fire because that will bring an end to their drinking time! This normally results in overcooked, tough meat that nobody enjoys.
I recently invited some friends over for a braai and decided beforehand that I would like to keep it South African, but with somewhat of a twist. Since my local supermarket was selling ostrich steaks at a very good price, ostrich meat was the obvious choice.
My favourite side dish to a braai is mealie pap, although most Capetonians do not appreciate pap all that much. Loads of people add butter and sugar to their pap and then top it with sheba (a tomato based sauce) and eat this as sides to braaivleis. Although I never add sugar to my pap I like something sweet with my braaivleis, so I decided to add some caramelized pumpkin to the mealie pap.
I roasted a variety of mushrooms and topped the meat with that. The result? All my guests wanted my delicious pap recipe! They also loved the Ostrich steaks.
So, if you want to have a South African braai, with a twist, try this Ostrich steaks with pumpkin mealie pap and mushrooms!
- 1l water
- 10ml salt
- 500ml maize meal
- 250g pumpkin cubes
- 30ml butter
- 30ml brown sugar
- 300g mixed mushroom
- 120ml olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 red chillies, seeded and sliced (optional)
- 6 x 200g ostrich steaks
- chopped chives, for garnish
- Bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Add the maize meal and mix thoroughly.
- Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer the pap for an hour, stirring a few times.
- Meanwhile, steam the pumpkin with a little water and a pinch of salt until cooked.
- Drain off any remaining water and add the butter and brown sugar. Cook for 10 minutes until caramelized.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰C. Place the mushrooms, garlic and chillies (optional) onto a roasting tin and drizzle with 60ml of the olive oil. Season lightly and roast for 20 minutes.
- Baste the ostrich steaks with the remaining olive oil.
- Heat a heavy based griddle pan until very hot. If you are braaiing the steaks, the coals should be very hot.
- Place the steaks in the pan or on the grid and seal both sides.
- Turn the meat twice on each side until it is cooked as preferred. (If you like the meat to be cooked medium to rare cook it 3 minutes on each side). Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.
- Press the roasted garlic until it is pureed and add to the mealie pap with the caramelized pumpkin and chillies, if you are using the chillies.
- Spoon the pumpkin mealie pap onto serving plates. Place the ostrich steaks on top of the pap and top with the roasted mushrooms.
- Garnish with the chives.