What makes a bredie a bredie and not just a plain old casserole or stew? It’s all in the spices. Tomato bredie is traditionally made with lamb and, as the name suggests, loads of tomato. But the aromatics are what makes it the real deal – perfumed ginger and cardamom, earthy cloves, heady cinnamon and a bit of chilli cheek. Nine times out of ten I’d make it with lamb. But because my local Pick ’n Pay had fabulously thick slabs of beef short rib on special I could not resist.
I knew short rib is plenty rich enough to act as a foil for all that tomato tartness. This recipe is an adaptation of Dine van Zyl’s tomato bredie from her brilliant cookbook, Boerekos. I tampered with it some – fresh tomatoes instead of tinned, less puree, no potatoes and I simplified the cooking method a bit. But the spicing is all hers, and it’s spot on. A glass or two of Shiraz (see my wine choice lower down), a few good friends around the table and I’m in mid-winter slow food heaven.