After a very long and a very wet and cold winter I was so glad to see waterblommetjies for sale when I went to my favourite shop, Food Lover’s Market. If one can buy fresh waterblommetjies, then it has to be spring! It can be turned into a hearty stew suitable for a cold spring dinner!
Waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyosis) is an Afrikaans word meaning small water flowers. The bredie is thus a stew made from these small flowers. It is commonly known as Cape pondweed, Cape hawthorn or Cape asparagus and is found in the dams, ponds and marshes of the Western Cape of South Africa. Once a year we have the opportunity to celebrate that we are fortunate to live in the beautiful Western Cape with a dish made with something that is so true to our region!
Waterblommetjies do not have a flowery taste. It tastes more like green beans. It tends to cook down and lose its fresh looks a bit when used in a stew, so I decided to try to impress Sandra by doing something new. I decided to keep a few flowers apart and to add them in the end as decoration.
1 kg lamb suitable for a stew
2 large onions – chopped
4 cloves garlic – crushed
30 ml olive oil
1 kg waterblommetjies – rinsed (Keep about 8 flowers to microwave later)
500 g potatoes – cut into large cubes
Salt and pepper (We like it with a pronounced black pepper taste)
Heat a cast iron or heavy based and add the oil. As soon as the oil is hot, braise the meat until golden brown. Remove the meat from the pot and in the same pot sauté the onion and garlic until the onions are soft. Add the meat and stock to the pot and simmer the meat until soft. Do not hurry, this may take up to two hours! You can do this in the oven if you want to have a little peace of mind and do something else without worrying about what is happening in the kitchen. When the meat is tender, add the waterblommetjies, the potatoes and the zest of the two lemons to the pot. If it needs more stock, add a little red wine (by this time you are supposed to have opened the wine)!
When nearly done, microwave the remaining flowers in a little bit of water, the juice of one of the lemons, and salt and black pepper.
The Master of the House