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Hotdog #2 - Boerie

Photo Credit: Louis Botha Fotografie

South Africans often consider only one thing when you mention the word hotdog: the Boerie roll. Of course South Africa’s favourite kind of sausage is Boerewors, which refers to the colloquial name given long ago to Afrikaners (“Boere,” literally translated: “Farmers”) who trekked inland from the Cape Colony. It might have Dutch roots, or it might have French roots. Who’s to say? What we can be sure about, is that it’s a great ingredient for a hotdog.

The Boeries stall has gained a firm foothold in our society. Whether it’s outside butcher shops or camping stores, next to the beach or in die pavilion at a rugby match, at the church bazaar or just plainly at the side of the road, it’s part of our social fabric in a way we wouldn’t have foreseen a generation ago. It’s a lunch-on-the-go for a busy salesman, a meal for a family when Mom’s day was hectic, a snack to calm the nerves when your team is losing, or a weekend treat with a friend.

Whatever the reason we enjoy the Boerie, it’s become a staple in the national fast food scene as well as comfort food to many of us and it’s here to stay.

What are the elements of a Boerie? Well there’s the bun, of course. Fresh and soft and white. Add a good quality Boerewors and then decide on condiments. Some of us reach for tomato sauce, mustard or chutney. Others prefer a proper tomato-and-onion sauce. Those who are adventurous will add some Tobasco or chilli sauce.

Here is our version of the Boerie:

Prepare a sauce:

Chop some onions and tomatoes according to your preference. i prefer equal amounts of Tomato and onion, which makes That-Man roll his eyes. When it’s his turn to prepare the sauce, you’ll just barely be able to distinguish an onion. Sauté the onions and then add the tomatoes. Add some salt to taste. When the tomato has turned soft, add some tomato paste and some chutney. If you don’t have chutney, some vinegar mixed with apricot jam will do, and if you don’t have jam, you could use sugar or honey. Sometimes we’ll add some basil (yours truly) or oregano (That-Man). When we’re in Nepal, it might be coriander leaves, but this part of the recipe is dependent on our mood.

Just before you’re ready to serve the sauce, grind some black pepper and stir through.

On to the meat:

Buy enough of your favourite Boerewors to feed your guests. Braai it over the coals, fry it in a pan or bake it in the oven, according to your preference.

Today we also fried some bacon bits for extra smoky flavour.

At last – Assemble the Boerie:

Slice a bun across the top, spread with butter (if you prefer), add the sauce and then the Boerewors. Sprinkle some bacon bits on top and voila! A perfectly decent, proudly South African hotdog is ready for your taste buds.

When you sink your teeth into a Boerie, the smoky goodness of the Boerewors tantalizes the tongue and if you invested in some Spekwors (Boerewors with added bacon fat), the extra indulgence only adds to the pleasure of this roll.

While we love exploring exotic tastes, the Boerie’s aroma and taste transports us back home when we’re far away. It reminds of the time we had a roadside braai while waiting for marathon runners to pass our water table, or the time we bought the last of the Boeries at the bazaar and had to find ways to share all 13 of it with family (because we all know that a Boerie is best served fresh), and most especially we remember the friends with whom we shared those occasions and we’re thankful for the blessing of sharing ordinary food with extraordinary souls.

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