This has taken forever to get round to. It is hard for me to imagine how you have contained yourselves.
Bobotie is the signature dish of South African cuisine, which does not rank among the world's top cuisines. All the same, it's delicious, and this is how you make it.
In its simplest form, you don't need any of the vegetables that I use. My bobotie is sort of based on how I make Bolognese. But since this is both a recipe and an important historical document of something that literally happened in history, the photo essay begins with a tray of roasted squash with chilli and garlic, as more or less per Jamie Oliver. Key things: don't bother to peel the squash; salt generously. These will take 30-45 minutes to cook at about 3/4 of your oven's power. I only wish I could be more precise. Before roasting, the view will be not unlike this:
Thirsty work, you are thinking, and you're right. I recommend a Dark & Stormy, which you make as if it were a gin and tonic, but using dark rum and ginger beer, and also a quarter of a lime, squeezed.
If you have any vegetarians in the room while you are cooking, they will be obsessed with nibbles. Make them buy their own nibbles.
Put some sausages to cook in the oven, since the squash are already roasting. Also some carrots. Maybe fry up some red peppers and broccoli. If you are a terrible photojournalist, don't bother to take pictures of this stage but move straight on to the main event. Fry some chopped onion in some oil, and after it's softened, add a couple of generous dessert spoonfulls of assorted powder. You could make it two spoons of medium curry powder, or you could, as I do, substitute some of that for mustard powder and paprika. Fry for another couple of minutes.
Oh yes, I remember. Brown some mince in the pan. As a rule of thumb, one big onion does 500g of mince, so you might have to repeat the procedure more than once. If you have a vegetarian in the house, you might make a batch out of the Quran. I mean Quorn. (Don't kill me for that joke. It was just a joke.) Then combine all the ingredients, including the sausage, which you should chop up into the Quran, I mean the Quorn, I mean the meat version, trying not to think of that incredible pool of fat that emerged from them.
You will now have a load of stuff and be wondering why the hell you have curried a Bolognese, especially when I tell you to put some chopped tomato in.
Oh, hang on though! What's that stuff on top! Yes, people, we're not in Kansas any more, because that is a dollop - a really big dollop - of chutney. You can be creative here. I once achieved astonishing results with a pork and fried apple bobotie, no vegetables, with apple and ginger chutney. Suit your meat to the chutney you have available. Don't be afraid of mangoes. The sweetness works well.
And if you thought you weren't in Kansas before, you're really not going to be in Kansas when you read what happens next. Take a load of bread, probably three thick slices per 500g of meat, and soak them in milk. Then mush these up in your hands, spoon into the pot, and mix thoroughly.
And then, as Kansas disappears between your ruby slippers, quickly get some more milk, break 1-2 eggs into it per 500g of meat, and whisk.
Having ladled the mixture into a lasagne dish or whatever,
you should definitely take another photo of what it looks like when you pour a very thin layer of the eggy milk on top prior to baking for forty minutes at 2/3 oven power.
I mean, why wouldn't you?
Then eat the bobotie with rice and some chutney. Nice lime pickle is really good with it. Lime pickle really varies though.
If I have seemed cagy about quantities, it is because my safety first policy meant that when I cooked for eight, including a vegetarian, I made enough bobotie for eight, plus for me for four of the next five nights, plus for eight more people on the fifth of those nights. It was really nice. I particularly recommend it with a chocolate cake with, basically, sequins that a neighbour has made for another neighbour's birthday.