For South African ex-pats the variety and versatility of biltong needs no explanation. For those who have recently discovered biltong some recipe ideas won’t go amiss. Biltong is an air cured meat, prepared in a marinade of vinegar, herbs and spices. The recipes originate with European settlers and were as varied as the number of people making it. Today, outside of South Africa, the most common type is Beef, although game or ostrich versions are also available. The unique flavouring and curing process gives this dried meat its flavour and texture. As biltong is a savoury dried meat, as opposed to the sweeter beef jerky, it is exceptionally versatile and can be used in any number of dishes, from simple snacks or as an ingredient in main meals.
Making Biltong Pate
Pate comes in many and varied forms, but for the domestic goddesses out there, this is an unusual twist.
To serve four to six people you’ll need:
• A medium onion, 100grams of grated biltong, 50grams of butter, 250grams of cream cheese and 250grams of cream – whipping cream works best. Biltong itself is delightfully low fat, so don’t worry too much about the cream and butter!
• Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently fry off the onions, then allow them to cool. Place the onions, grated biltong, cream cheese and cream in a blender and mix well.
• To serve add a garnish of water cress and also strips of thicker cut biltong. To add a twist to the recipe, add chilli, garlic, mushrooms or peppers and fry off with the onions before blending.
The beauty of cooking with biltong is that much of the flavouring and seasoning is already done for you, which makes it a great ingredient for the less than domestic goddess too. Added to basic stew or soup recipes it adds an unusual twist. It also makes you look like you know your way around the kitchen, whatever the facts!
Biltong is a fantastic addition to childrens’ lunchboxes on two fronts. Firstly it is a low fat, high protein and energy source and secondly, it’s so tasty they won’t be able to resist! For those on a diet or simply keeping a close eye on the calories, this meaty snack is a brilliant addition to your daily allowance. Compared to other meat products, particularly the snack variety, this dried South African speciality is nearly always produced using cuts that contain the least fat, offering a nutritious and healthy snack. This makes it an ideal addition to sandwiches, spreads and salads.