Have you ever found a cookbook that nobody has ever heard of by an author no one has ever heard of and it turns out to be one of your most reliable, successful cookbooks? I’ve written about this book before, but I just have to reiterate it again: David Ricketts’ Home Cooking Around The World is one of those books that has become one of my favorite standbys for when I don’t know what to cook. I picked it up randomly in the overstock section for $10 at my used book store and I would cheerfully pay full price for it now. This bobotie alone would be worth the cover price.
I am no expert on South African cuisine, but as far as I can tell the hallmarks of bobotie are ground meat, curry powder, bread soaked in milk and eggs. I tried a different recipe a decade ago (!) but was not too impressed. Thank goodness I gave this recipe a try because this is absolutely fantastic. The mango chutney, which was not called for in my previous recipe, really makes this it.
- 2 lbs ground beef, lamb is fine too
- 2 slices white bread
- 1 cup milk (I used mostly 1% with some half-n-half), divided
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T curry powder
- 3/4 cup dark seedless raisins
- 2 T slivered almonds
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 heaping T mango chutney, large pieces chopped if desired
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 6 bay leaves, I left out, did not have
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 9X13X2 casserole pan and set aside.
Brown the ground beef--when it is browned, drain it of excess moisture and grease. Set aside.
Tear the bread into small pieces. Place in a bowl and cover with 1/4 cup of the milk. Let soak for 20 minutes, turning the bread occasionally so that it soaks evenly. At the end of the 20 minutes, let any excess milk drain off.
Heat butter in a large skillet. Add the onion with a pinch of salt. Fry until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook for another minute, stirring to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, mix together the browned beef, soaked bread, the onion and garlic mixture, the raisins, almonds, lemon juice, chutney, salt, pepper and 1 egg. Mix until evenly distributed and then spread into the prepared casserole dish.
Whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup milk with the other egg. Pour this over the casserole. Tuck the bay leaves into the casserole.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the casserole is set. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving--remove the bay leaves before serving.