We Africans are a very strange society indeed. We love boasting about all the French dishes we eat. Yet we ignore dishes of African origin that foreigners rave about. I"m talking ostrich here.
Ostrich does not taste of chicken - it has quite a strong taste, a cross between beef and venison. The big advantage is that being undomesticated, ostrich meat is low in cholesterol.
Other facts about ostriches are that they:
- originate from Africa, but they have spread all over the world, and can now be found from California to China
- are farmed not only for their meat, but also for leather from their skins.
- are the fastest two-legged animals on the planet, capable of over 65 km/h and they can probably cover 40 km within an hour
- are flightless birds
- don't bury their heads in the sand when danger approaches, because they are fully capable of defending themselves well by kicking or biting the enemy
- notwithstanding the above, in English a person 'hiding his head in the sand, like an ostrich' is said to be foolishly ignoring his problem, while hoping it will somehow vanish. This idea was made into a joke in 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', by Douglas Adams in which the 'Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal' was described as 'so mind-bogglingly stupid that it assumes that if you can't see it, then it can't see you.'
Back to business, we're talking ostrich neck potjie today. And please hurry to the shop with this list before I"m tempted to tell an ostrich joke as well:
30 ml cooking oil
1.5 kg ostrich neck slices
4 leeks, sliced
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
5 ml dried rosemary
250 g brown mushrooms, sliced
30 ml boiled green peppercorns, bruised
75 ml brandy
50 ml dry sherry
1 cup red wine and 1 cup chicken stock
½ cup lemon juice
15 fresh pickling onions, peeled
10 small whole carrots
8 small, peeled potatoes
250 g cooked spinach, chopped and mixed with 125 ml sour cream and add some bacon, ham, cheese, nutmeg and lemon juice for flavouring
15 ml cake flour
¼ cup milk
a pinch nutmeg
salt to taste
Heat the oil in the pot and brown the meat a little at a time. Remove and set aside. Fry the leeks, garlic, rosemary, mushrooms and peppercorns in the same pot. Return the meat to the pot. Heat the brandy slightly, pour over the meat, and ignite. Add the heated sherry, red wine and lemon juice once the flames have died down. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours or till the meat is almost tender.
Layer the vegetables, except the spinach, on top of the meat, cover, and simmer for a further 45 to 50 minutes. Mix the spinach mixture with a paste of cake flour and milk and spoon carefully over the food in the pot. Season with nutmeg and salt, cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
Then, put your cowboy hot on and shout: "Come and get it or I"ll throw it to the dogs!"Â�
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