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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Making Old-Fashioned Brawn

When I was recently in Botswana, visiting some fabulous friends, I was invited to photograph a number of dishes prepared by an excellent cook. One of these dishes was of my friend cooking brawn. This is one of those dishes that everybody used to be able to make and nowadays very few people actually know how to do. I ran for the camera and am happy to bring you an old-fashioned dish revived for a new generation.


My friend, Louise, doesn't ever follow a recipe and it was a rare thing to see her pulling a cookbook up as a reference. It turns out she was merely looking for suggestions for the herbs and spices, but I snapped the page in the recipe book anyway.


You will need some stewing beef and loads of bones to cook the brawn. You will also have to ask your butcher for clean trotters. Louise used cow's feet as they had slaughtered one of the cows on their dairy farm that proved to have been barren. When cooking the feet, the gelatine is released into the water and this is what will eventually cause the brawn to set. Did you know: Gelatine from animal's feet is the substance of all gelatine dishes and jelly.


Here is a close-up photo of the cleaned feet that will go into the pot.


These are all the flavourants and spices that will eventually be added to the pot. Do not add them yet! We have sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, crushed garlic, black pepper corns, coriander, thyme, whole cloves, curry, salt, pimento (all spice), and turmeric. Bay leaves are also added, but do not appear in the photo. Refer to the recipe photo for guidance on quantities as Louise honestly did not measure a single thing.


Put the feet in a pressure cooker with some water and set to cook for 2-3 hours.


The gelatine will release into the water.


Add the rest of the meat. Louise only used beef with a little bit of mutton, but other recipes specify the use of pork and even game.


Add water to the pressure cooker of needed and steam for another hour to get the meat very tender.


Remove the meat from the bone and chop into fine pieces.


Remove the bones and feed it to a very happy dog!


You may even prefer to blitz your meat with a hand blender to get it even finer.


Now is the time to add all of those lovely herbs, spices and other flavourants. The bulky herbs and spices are collected in a cloth.


The cloth is then tightly knotted ...


... before being submerged in the meat. Cook for a few more minutes, up to half an hour.


Dish the brawn into metal or silicone dishes.


Set aside to cool before placing it in the fridge to set.


Once the gelatine is set, you can enjoy chunky slices of brawn as is, or have thick slices on bread. Try reheating the slices in the microwave, on top of your bread as another great alternative. Fabulously delicious!


Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
You can follow Miekie's daily Bible Study blog, Bybel Legkaart, here in English & Afrikaans.
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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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