Winter in the Cape normally comes with cold and wet rainy weather, all screaming soup, stews, potjies and plenty of red wine. One of my biggest food excitements in Winter is Waterblommetjie Breedie. For me, there is nothing more simpler and comforting than this humble dish. Indigenous to the Boland/Cape Wineland, waterblommetjies are small little flowers that blossom during the winter months in dams, ponds and vleis.
These little flowers were extremely popular with the Khoisan especially for it being high in vitamins and minerals. They also used waterblommetjies for medicinal purposes such as healing wounds and burns. Today it is loved stewed with lamb or mutton.
So what does Waterblommetjie taste like?
Well they sat the texture is like artichoke leaves. (I haven’t eaten fresh artichokes so can’t vouch if it is true) If I had to close my eyes I would say that I was eating green beans with a hint of lemon.
My Boozy Waterblommetjie Breedie Tips!
My version of this recipe is stripped backed keeping it simple. I normally love big bold flavours, but this time round – I want the flavours to stand out. And be prepared to loose a whole bottle of wine for this recipe! – This dish is a thirsty dish.
My wine of choice to cook with is De Wet Sauvignon Blanc – because of the terrior where this Sauvignon Blanc grows it picks up these beautiful herbaceousness notes from the fynbos, it also has a good acidity which helps to elevate the dish.
Now for the lamb, I totally love using lamb ribs. It has a good balance of meat, fat and the rib bones adds a lovely meaty deepth to the dish. Plus my local butcher highly recommened the lamb ribs. He asked another elderly lady and she said yes – Now this is a generation that has been local Bolanders for many years, who grew up eating on Waterblommetjies – So I won’t argue!
Cooking the breedie slow and low in the oven gives this dish a gorgeous colour and an extra depth of flavour. I also like adding whole pearl onions as this gives the stew a natural sweetness and another layer of flavour.
Adding the lemon in the dish also helps to cut through the rich fattiness of this dish. It acts as a lovely palate cleanser during mouthfuls. The lemon also helps to keep the waterblommetjies bright green colour. You don’t want to overcook the waterblommetjie breedie, as the waterblommetjies will go mushy and your breedie will be watery.
Once you add the waterblommetjies you never want to stir the pot. Leave it alone. Only when it is finished cooking you can give it a fold than a stir.. Serve with white rice.
What wine will pair with a Waterblommetjie Breedie. You can go for a lovely wooded Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or a Cabernet Sauvignon.Jump to Recipe Print Recipe
- 1 Glug Olive Oil
- 1 Knob Butter
- 1 Onion Peeled and diced.
- 3 Cloves Garlic finely sliced
- 10 Pearl Onions Peeled , Keep Whole
- 2 punnets Waterblommetjies
- 1.5 kg Lamb ribs
- 750 ml De Wet Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 small Lemon Quartered
- Cracked pepper
- Sea Salt
- Rinse and then soak the waterblommetjies in lightly salted water say overnight. This gets rid of additional sand and prevents the waterblommetjies from going slimey when you cook them. Give the Waterblommetjies one final rinse.
- Preheat the oven 160°C
- Heat the oil with a knob of butter in a large pot/ovenproof dish.
- Add the meat to the pot and brown. Add the onions, garlic and pearl onions to the pot.
- Season with a generous grinding of black pepper and add a little salt.
- Add 500 ml wine to the pot – deglaze, cover and put in the oven for 1 hour.
- Take out of the oven and add the waterblommetjies, pour remaining wine and scater the lemon wedges. Close and place back in the oven.
- Cook for another 1 hour. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve with white rice.