When Tandy challenged her readers to cook something using venison, I must confess I may have cackled with glee. It’s been a really long week here after the Food Bloggers’ Indaba (the post is in draft format-I’m working on it!) and then getting stuck at the airport! Venison is something we always have in the freezer, specifically kudu boerewors and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.
John goes hunting once a year, usually for kudu and we always prepare the meat in a variety of ways. The bulk of it gets turned into either biltong or borewors (literally: farmers sausage *insert rude jokes here*). Venison puts a lot of people off, it can be very ‘strong’ or gamey and it needs to be handled with care; particularly if the meat has been aged. Venison boerewors on the other hand is usually mixed with spek or fat from either beef or mutton which helps fatten up the typically lean venison. The meat mixture is then usually combined with any one of thousands of closely guarded secret herb and spice mixes which bring out the flavour and make boerewors what it is. There are as many different secret combinations a there are farmers!
When we make boerewors, I mean ‘we’ as in ‘take the meat to the butchery and they do it’. Wors is like any sausage; ground up and encased in a skin and I’d far rather give someone else the hassle! We always use TipTop Butchery in Grahamstown. They’re fantastic and the wors they make is delicious! The last time round we ended up with 17kg of boerewors, some of which we gave away and the rest we froze.
“Boerie” or “Wors” rolls are a bit of a South African institution. You can usually find them for sale at every fair and sports event. Here in Grahamstown there’s a woman, affectionately known as Mama Pam, who sells them outside the Rat & Parrot pub late at night. I’ve seen tipsy students carefully counting out their last few coins, driven to desperation by the smell of sizzling onions and boerewors.
The humble boerie roll is usually a length of sausage, slapped in a hotdog bun. There might be some margarine in there. Toppings, if that’s your fancy, can be fried onions (my personal favourite), tomato relish, tomato sauce or mustard. Or nothing. You know, whatever floats your boat. I wanted to liven things up a bit. Take something familiar and put a gourmet spin on it.
- Soft French loaf (not the hard crusty baguette-save that for garlic bread!)
- Rocket, or other greens
- Pesto (I used the amazing rocket & walnut version from Pesto Princess!)
- Balsamic reduction
- Butter for the loaf
- Red or White onions
- Leeks or green onions
- Butter & olive oil for frying.
Start by frying or braaiing your boerewors. While that’s cooking, prepare the rolls.
Cut your loaf into as many sections as you need and spread some butter and pesto on it, and maybe a squirt of balsamic reduction.
Slice the onions into thing rings. Heat up about a teaspoonful of butter and about a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions (you could also add a bit of garlic if you like). Fry them until they are nice and soft and just beginning to caramelise, with delicious golden edges. When the boerewors and the onions are ready, start building up your rolls.
I layered some fresh rocket out on the roll, then some thinly sliced raw leeks (totally optional-I love onion-y flavours but some people might find it a bit much) then the lovely soft friend onions and finally the boerewors.
You could really go all out and add some lovely oozy Camembert to this, or eat it as it, with a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer. Enjoy!