National Biltong Day – and other South African food celebrations.
It has been an interesting month for proudly South African food celebrations, even more seeing that September is also Heritage Month for us. A couple of weeks ago we talked about Vetkoek Day, the 6th of September was #NationalKoesisterDay (I will plan better for than one next year) and the 8th of September was (apparently) National Biltong Day!
It is not beef jerky
Don’t you dare to compare biltong with American beef jerky. It is so much more – and so much better than bone-dry, tasteless jerky can ever be! In my humble opinion of course. If you are not South African, it isn’t that easy to explain with biltong is though. To use the Wikipedia quote: “Biltong, a salty dried meat (typically seasoned with coriander seeds and salt) although the meat used is most commonly beef different variants also exist such as springbok, kudu, eland, chicken and ostrich.” I know it probably doesn’t sound too appetizing, but if made well, it is extremely addictive!
The Biltong Potjie
Jan and I like to use the themes of food days to give us the excuse to whip up a decadent meal and enjoy a good glass of wine with it. What do do with biltong? There are actually so many options, the preferred and easiest way is to just have it as it is! Jan made a biltong potjie a couple of years ago, a rich and artery-clogging affair, and it got stuck in our collective memory.
We decided to give it another try. Yes, it can be rich. Which seems to be most of our meals during #lockdown2020 anyway. The dish, as he made it, technically it isn’t a proper South-African style potjie, but it was made in a pot – so we’re using artistic freedom here. We used Jan Braai’s Denny Biltong Pasta Potjie recipe, with a very minor tweak here and there (for example, we used a tomato-based pasta sauce).
Whatever your definition of ‘diet-friendly’ is, this is not it. A true calorie-laden feast!
And, as one does, served with extra carbs on the side.
Add some pinotage
We washed this bowl of decadence down with the Proudly South African varietal, pinotage. We thought that the combination of biltong and Kumala Reserve Pinotage will be a natural match. The soft tannins, slightly spiciness and dark berry notes worked very well with the pasta dish. This easy sipping pinotage is a good value option for those who are keen to try pinotage for the first time as well.
Seeing that we are on the biltong topic, I asked a few fellow food lovers on Facebook for ideas to use it in cooking and baking. We came up with quite and impressive list! I did not get the recipes for all these ideas though, that kind of detail would have kept me busy for days. And who knows, maybe I am saving it for another day! With a bit of imagination, you get a good idea of how versatile biltong as an ingredient is!
In a salad/side dish:
- Biltong, blue cheese, avocado, rocket, cherry tomato salad
- Loaded mash – with added cream, cheese and biltong powder
- Biltong potato bake
- Braaibroodjie with biltong and cheese
- Biltong potato salad
- Biltong and cheese giant mushrooms on the braai
On a sandwich:
- Biltong and cheese toasted sandwich
- Biltong jaffles
- Biltong jam
- Biltong Quiche
- Biltong and feta quiche
- Biltong Muffins
- Biltong and peppadew muffins
- Biltong powder on freshly baked scones
- Biltong pate
- Biltong savoury lamingtons
- Fried biltong
- Biltong dip
- Biltong and pap (with cream)
- Mini vetkoek with biltong and cheese
- Biltong phyllo parcels
- Biltong and cream cheese balls
As a meal:
- Biltong Soup
- Biltong Potjie
- Biltong Pasta (with bechamel, garlic and parmesan)
- Mac n Cheese Biltong
- Biltong omelet
- Biltong, peppadew and feta pizza
Maybe I will make it my life’s mission to try all of these recipes. What is your favourite way to use/eat biltong?
So yes, so much more (better) than jerky!