Capture the spirit of traditional South African cooking with this recipe for Beef Frikkadels

Ingredients
¼ cup milk
extra large pinch of white pepper
¾ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp nutmeg
large pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp salt plus one extra large pinch (weird, I know, but it does need that extra pinch!)
2 slices white bread, crusts cut off
800g beef mince (not super lean, you need a bit of fat)
½ cup of onion, grated not chopped
3 tbs melted sheep fat (what gran used to call dripping – you can leave it out, but it would be a pity)
½ cup water
butter

How to
Combine the salt and spices with the milk. Add the bread and allow it to soak up all the milk. Then use a fork to break the bread up finely. Add this mixture to the mince along with the melted fat and onion and use the fork to bring it all together. Whatever you do, don’t compact the mince. Think Tinkerbell working with pastry and you’ll be on the right track.

Smear the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish with butter (gran’s rectangular Pyrex dish is great for this). Use your hands to lightly shape large frikkadels. I do the picky food stylist thing and use my electronic kitchen scale to make perfectly even 100g frikkadels. Place them in the baking dish and top each frikkadel with a small dot of butter. Add ½ cup of water to the baking dish and roast in a 190 degree Celsius oven for 35-40 minutes, basting the frikkadels once or twice with the pan juices. If it’s cooking dry, add a touch more water. (Note: Gran used to cook them to death for an hour, but that’s not how I roll.) Turn your grill on for the last five minutes to help them brown, but do keep an eye on it so they do not burn.

Remove the frikkadels and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. Add a cup of water to the cooking liquid and turn it into a lush gravy by thickening it with a teaspoon of cornflour and a teaspoon of Bisto dissolved in a tablespoon of cold water. Yes, I know, this is seriously uncool and many a cook would scoff. But this is the way gran made it, and I loved it.

This frikkadel recipe makes 10 x 100g ones. It’s also excellent served with old-fashioned tomato salad.

Recipe by Lizet Hartley, courtesy of Melkkos & Merlot, a bilingual blog about food.

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