To say that I am having a wonderful time in Cape Town would be an understatement! The glorious scenery and the fabulous weather aside, the food culture is fantastic. There are so many artisanal producers, independent shops and eclectic cafes, bistros and restaurants, all as a matter of course, that it is somewhat of a gastronomic wonderland.
Brain child of award winning chef Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen downstairs, the aim to to offer tasting plates of Asian influenced food which make the most of what is on offer in the market. The food is sensational – beautifully presented and intensely flavoured. The smoked beef fillet with black pepper and truffle “café au lait” sauce was sublime. The mushrooms served on brioche with sherry vinaigrette, grated lemon, parmesan and porcini dust were gorgeous as were the calamari in a curry flavoured batter, the oysters with a ponzu jelly, the duck spring rolls…gorgeous cocktails, friendly and helpful service and wonderful company.
And the butchers here are quite something as well. Take a look at The Butcher Man. They have an eat-in/take away grill bar, a biltong bar, a deli, pre packed and gourmet meat as well as a glassed in butchery section at the back where you can see the two professional butchers originally from Yorkshire at work. Visiting this butchery inspired me to cook springbok shanks but on the day I wanted to cook them, they were not in available. So after ringing round, we ended up with a shoulder of Springbok from Frankie Fenners Meat Merchants who have just moved to new premises. And what premises they are! Painted black, with another glassed in butchery area, serving coffee and with an alcohol licence, sourcing and selling ethically produced meat and charcuterie…it is quite simply stunning. Having spoken to Andy on the phone they had prepared the shoulder by boning and rolling and had it waiting for us to collect.
When cooking with game a little sweetness is desirable and Andy advised that I add some apricots to the stuffing and braise the meat for a couple of hours. I am not a fan of fruit with meat but I did as he suggested and and found it delicous.
I do something similar with lamb shoulder which I simply roast. As game does not have the fat that lamb has, braising it slowly is the way to go.
It is easy to make especially if the meat has been prepared for you. All you have to do is make the paste, smear it on the meat, cover with the stuffing ingredients, roll up, secure, cover and braise, adding more water after an hour if it has evaporated.
Braised Stuffed Rolled Shoulder of Springbok
- 1kg of rolled shoulder of springbok or venison
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
- 6 anchovy fillets
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup bulgar wheat or couscous
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 cup chopped black olives
- 1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 4-5 sprigs of rosemary
- half a dozen cloves of unpeeled garlic
- 400ml of hot water with half a stock cube dissolved in it
- 1/3 bottle of red wine
- 2 – 3 Tbsp blueberry or redcurrant jelly
- 1/4 – 1/3 more red wine
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
- Open out the rolled (butterflied) shoulder of game. Check carefully for shot and and trim away any bruising and connective tissue that the butcher may have left behind.
- Whizz together the garlic, rosemary, anchovies and oil so that you have a creamy paste and smear all over the inside of the shoulder.
- Sprinkle over the (raw) bulgar wheat or couscous
- Cover this with the chopped apricots, olives and tomatoes.
- Lay as many pieces of string as you think you will need in your oven dish – we used 6 or 7 – then roll up the meat, lay on top of the string and secure. Tuck in any fallen bits of stuffing back into the roll where ever you can. You might find that you need to secure the roll with more string.
- Tuck the sprigs of rosemary under the meat and scatter round the unpeeled cloves of garlic. Drizzle the top of the meat with a small amount of olive oil and season with pepper. Do not add any salt as there is plenty in the anchovies and the stock. Pour round the stock and the red wine. Cover tightly and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Check after an hour and replenish liquid with hot water from the kettle if much has evaporated.
- After 2 hours, remove the meat to a board and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for 20/30 mins. If you making any roasted vegetables, this is the time to turn up the heat and put them into the oven. I oven roasted some lightly oiled asparagus for 15 minutes and finished off the Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers while the meat was resting.
- You should have a small amount of unctuous, deeply savoury jus in the roasting dish. Pick out the rosemary and pour in the additional wine. Place on the hob and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Reduce for at least 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Stir in the jelly, tasting as you do so to balance the flavour.
- Cut off the string and carve the shoulder into 1 cm-ish slices.
- Serve with the delicious slightly sweet and savoury jus, making sure that everyone gets some of the garlic as well.