Slow-cooked springbok in a coal pit

Slow-cooked springbok in a coal pit

Serves 4. Preparation time 30 minutes. Cooking time 6 hours.

2 kg springbok leg (beef brisket or lamb shoulder will also work)
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 whole garlic bulb, broken up
2 sprigs rosemary
250 g bacon, chopped
small knob of butter
2 onions, chopped
1 carrot
2 sticks of celery
1/2 cup brandy
pinch of cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cream

• If you want to serve this dish for dinner, start cooking at noon. You can also let it cook overnight and then reheat it

• Dig a pit of at least half a metre wide and half a metre deep. You can line the pit with bricks or stones to keep the heat in, but it's not essential. Don't use rocks that might explode at a high heat, like limestone or layered rock.

• Make a fire in the pit. When the fire has died down, place the whole springbok leg in a pot and add the olive oil, red wine, stock, garlic and rosemary. Seal the pot with two layers of thick foil and replace the lid.

• When the coals have cooled down a bit, remove some to clear a space in the middle. Place the pot in the pit and scoop some of the coals on top. Cover the pit with sand and leave it for 6 hours. (You can also cook the leg in an oven at 120°C.)

• Remove the pot and pour the liquid into a smaller pot. Put this one on a gas cooker (or another fire) and boil the liquid until you have about 2 cups left.

• Fry the bacon in a pan until golden, then add the butter and onions. Fry until the onions are soft but
not browned. Add the carrot and celery and saute everything until soft. Add the brandy and, after about 5 minutes, 2 cups of the liquid and the cayenne pepper and black pepper. Let the mixture simmer for a while before tasting it - if it is too salty add a bit of water or season to taste.

• When you are ready to eat, place the meat on a wooden board and tear it into chunks with 2 forks. Put the shredded meat back into the pot (Remember to set some aside for the next day.)

• Add the cream to the simmering pan and let it boil once. Pour the creamy sauce over the meat. Serve with the dried fruit dumplings (page 84) and make sure you have some bread to mop up the juices.

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