Winter in the Kalahari (and a recipe!)

You just have to love the Kalahari winter!

Winter (June - August) sees temperatures cool. The first frost falls as nighttime temperatures occasionally drop below freezing, though the daytime will still be pleasantly warm.

Conditions become very dry as humidity disappears. As the grasses and thorn bushes dry out, so sightings of rarer, smaller mammals  increase as they emerge into daylight. Also a great time for hunting, as you can come up close and personal to your desired trophy.

Dust devils (small swirling dust storms) drift across the sand dunes. The mornings are crisp.The clear evenings of winter offer the best stargazing spectacle under the Kalahari’s breathtaking “diamond skies”. The nights are quiet. The perfect backdrop for candlelight dinners, red wine and log fires.

I share one of our special Kalahari recipes with you.

VENISON PIE

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

4 pounds of venison shanks/neck (I use Kudu or Gemsbuck but you can use Deer, Elk... whatever the hunter brings home from his day in the field!)

1 - 2 free-range lamb knuckles

2 T canola oil

1 litre water

2T White Vinegar

2 1/2 T beef stock powder

1 onion, chopped

10 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

1 t ground coriader

1 T Sea Salt

1T Black Peppercorns


Ready-made puff pastry or sour cream pastry

1/2 free-range egg, beaten


For the sauce:

Onions, peeled and chopped

1 Packet of mushrooms, chopped

1 Green pepper, chopped

2 T canola oil

1 x packet of Mushroom soup powder

1 Cup milk

1/2 Cup Cream

Dash of Tobasco


DIRECTIONS

Brown the lamb knuckles  and venison bones in the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Season with salt and pepper

Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the browned meat, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently until the meat is tender and begins to pull away from the bone (3–4 hours)

Cool, flake the meat, remove the bones and reserve the pan juices.

To make the sauce, sauté the onion with the green pepper  in fresh oil until soft and golden. Add the mushrooms and cook till soft

Add the reserved pan juices. Add the packet of mushroom soup powder, mixed with the 1 cup of milk. Bring to a slow simmer

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the flaked meat.

Add the cream and a dash of Tobasco

Spoon the filling into a large pie dish.

Cover with a layer of pastry, brush with egg, then decorate with pastry strips, also brushed with egg. (It will freeze well up to this stage). Bake at 380°F for 45 minutes.

A frozen pie must be left to thaw, covered with clingfilm, to prevent moisture on the pastry. Bake for 10 minutes longer if still cold when it goes into the oven.

Enjoy with fresh baked bread, green salad and a glass of red wine.

Send me your feedback- would love to hear from you!

From a cold Kalahari

Aldalene