As I sit and watch the aspen leaves change to a crisp glowing yellow, the urge for warm, scrumptious soups full of harvest vegetables grows in my stomach. Growing up in South Africa, Lamb Bredie was a traditional stew of lamb and vegetables that my mother served frequently. The dish gets its name from a Portuguese word (bredo) used to describe boiled greens, because it may have originally been a green stew. The term was presumably introduced to Southern Africa by Portuguese sailors. Today, there are a wide range of bredies in South African cuisine and they are always served with rice. This one is my favorite, so I hope you enjoy it!
Lamb and Tomato Bredie
1.5 lbs of lamb chops or French lamb shanks **
1 medium yellow onion cut into thick slices or medium sized pieces
6-8 Roma tomatoes cut into ½ inch slices
5-6 medium sized Idaho Russet potatoes cut into thick slices
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
3-4 teaspoons of fresh rosemary or 2-3 teaspoons of dried rosemary
Salt to taste (I prefer Celtic Sea Salt as it is rich in minerals)
Cracked black pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Large pot with lid for stews
Heat olive oil in pot and brown or caramelize lamb chops on both sides. This will ultimately add to the flavor of the stew. If you use the French lamb shanks, separate each shank by cutting with a knife. Layer rings of onion on top of lamb chops. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic on the onions. If you use fresh rosemary, bruise the rosemary with a knife to release the flavor and add to stew, then layer tomato slices on top of onions. Layer potato slices on top of tomato and prepare to simmer with lid on pot. Potato is the last ingredient you add to the pot.
Don’t stir and allow the stew to simmer on low for about 45 minutes to an hour, checking half way through to make sure that the tomatoes are drawing a liquid and that your stew is not dry. The stew should not be dry; however, if you encounter this, you may add a tiny bit of chicken stock, although this should not be necessary.
Stew is ready when tomatoes have settled throughout the stew, potatoes are cooked through and your lamb is tender (falling off the bones). The potatoes will thicken the stew juices a little.
Serve with rice and salad. I prefer Lotus Foods Heirloom Forbidden Black Rice.*** It has a wonderful nutty flavor which goes well with the lamb and is also much healthier than the starchy white rice.
A simple and delicious salad dressing to compliment your stew is one part olive oil to two parts orange juice and as much garlic as you like, with salt and pepper to taste.
** Several stores sell both lamb chops as well as the French lamb shanks, although if you can find organic, grass fed lamb that’s always best.
*** Your typical health food grocery stores sell the Lotus Foods Heirloom Forbidden Black Rice, or you can order it online.