It is a week away from Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year) and it is bitterly cold in Taiwan. When I say bitterly cold, I can hear the collective snigger coming from my readers in the UK, US and Canada. Yes, yes I know 10C at 87% humidity is hardly the -23C my Canadian friends had to endure today. But you know, this is supposed to be a subtropical island. Also, earthquake-proof buildings (read made entirely of concrete) are cold and damp and we have no heating or double glazing. The cold simply creeps up from the tiled concrete floor and then crawls up your legs and body until you shiver with cold.
Perfect weather for a stew, I hear you say. That's exactly what I thought! I've been missing my mum's tamatie bredie (Afrikaans for tomato stew) for a long time, so last night I thought it was high time to make some comfort food. To be honest, it was way too cold and windy to go out on my scooter to buy ingredients, so I had to make do with what was in the house. It came out great though! This is my plain, nothing fancy tamatie bredie!
|Slowly bubbling away.|
- a glug of oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1.5 kg stewing lamb or mutton (I used beef to be safe. The Chinese word for sheep and goat is similar and you never really know what you are getting.)
- 2 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste (for me, tamatie bredie loves pepper!)
- 500ml stock or wine
- 500g potatoes, peeled and sliced (not too small, we don't want mush)
- 1kg tomatoes, skinned and chopped (I didn't have fresh tomatoes, so I used Hunt's canned whole tomatoes.)
- 1 to 2 tsp sugar
- 1tsp marjoram (fresh, if you have. I didn't so I used 1tsp dried oregano in stead.)
- Heat the oil in a large casserole (I use my Ikea Le Creuset rip off ) and sauté the onions and garlic until it starts to soften.
- Add meat and quickly brown on all sides. Add salt, pepper and a little stock. Cover with a lid and simmer the meat for 1 to 1 and a half hours or until the meat starts to get tender. Add a little more stock or wine from time to time, if needed.
- Now add the potatoes, tomatoes sugar and herbs and simmer, with the lid on, for another hour. If the sauce is too thin, remove the lid and let it reduce slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve with cooked rice.