Green bean bredie – of course one has to call it a bredie, for nothing this soul satisfying could possibly be called a mere stew. What makes this a true South African bredie? The addition of marvellous old-fashioned boerekos spices along with liberal lashings of lard.

This is gran’s green bean bredie recipe, but I’ve given it a modern twist. I keep my beans whole as I prefer it visually, but you can slice them fine on the diagonal the way she did. I also don’t cook them to death, opting instead to add them towards the end. I like it crunchy, of course you can add them earlier if you prefer. I also finish the bredie off with a squeeze of lemon right at the end for a burst of zesty brightness. It’s the food of yesterday, adapted for today.

All you need is…

2-3 tbs lard
900g mutton knuckle (or a mix of knuckle, shin and neck)
1½ cups finely chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs cake flour
1 mutton stock cube (I used Knorrox)
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 whole cloves
2 cups water
4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 packet green beans, whole or sliced
½ lemon
salt to taste

Caramelise the meat over high heat in the lard. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onions to the same pan and fry until nicely golden and soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the flour and stir through until it disappears into the onion. Add the meat back to the pan along with any liquid that came out while it rested. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the beans and lemon), cover and cook over very low heat until the meat is fall-off-the-bone soft.

How long it takes depends on the age of the animal. Reckon on 2-3 hours. Peek from time to time to see if any more water is needed. If your heat is low enough, it should not be necessary. Add the beans once the meat is soft and cook them to your liking. Finally add the lemon juice just before you serve. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Serve this green bean bredie with fluffy white rice. I consider Mrs Ball’s chutney an essential extra.




20 min


2-3 hrs


tips, tricks and trivia

Working with lard

I consider lard a kitchen essential and start many of my stews and even rich ragus for pasta with it. Lard fries at a very high temperature, making it ideal for browning meat. If you absolutely have to, you can swap the lard for cooking oil in this recipe, but it won’t have the same wonderful lip-smacking richness. On a side note, I always but always brown my meat first. I’d never just chuck it into a stew raw. The caramelisation is what really builds the flavour and enriches the colour of your end dish.


Finding and storing lard

I used to be able to pick up tubs of Escort lard in the freezer section at ordinary supermarkets. Not so easy anymore, they seem to have gone all uppity about it. Specialist delis and butchers, especially ones focusing on pork, will be able to help though. I keep my tub of lard in the freezer for months on end.

enjoy with

My choice tipple with this special bredie is Groote Post’s 2014 Merlot, recipient of the Best Merlot Trophy at the 2016 Old Mutual Trophy wine show. The vineyards these grapes were harvested from are 14-15 years old. Now if you know nothing about viticulture, know this – older is better. The wine was aged in 300L French oak barrels with 30% in new wood, 40% in second fill barrels and 30% in third fill.

Merlot is often frowned upon as the second best bastard cousin of the reds. Naturally neither Merlot nor I agree. Wine maker, Lukas Wentzel, has produced a showstopper boasting rich berry and plum aromas with a subtle hint of mint.

On the palate it delivers juicy blackberry and cedar notes. Get it for about R128 retail and serve in gran’s best crystal for Sunday lunch.

Groote Post


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