When I decided to make this recipe, it was only because it has been requested several times in the last few months. Honesty, I’ve never had it in the parks and looking at the recipe itself this looked totally unappetizing. Raisins, sugar, and meat?
I just wasn’t seeing the attraction. It just seemed… Well… Gross. Even my husband, who’s usually up for anything Disney food related was making other plans for dinner. It was just too exotic for him. I was dreading putting this on the table for dinner. There was no way this was passing the picky eater kid test.
But this is a signature dish, a classic recipe from Boma and Tusker House. People rave about it and every time I go to Tusker House, the bobotie pan is completely empty. “You have to go to Boma” is always paired with “try the bobotie!” on Disney food forums. Surely, this has to be better than it looks?
I think I started to clue in to just how delicious this recipe was after I sampled while I was cooking. The smell was certainly enticing (it reminded me of the samosa stand at our local farmer market) and almost exotic… And when I took a sample spoonful, which shortly turned into a sample serving, I was in love. Sweet and savory with a great, creamy texture and an unbelievable aroma, I couldn’t wait to try it when it was finished with the egg custard topping.
My husband wasn’t sold until he saw it come out of the oven and “I can make my own dinner, it’s not a problem” turned into a tepid “I guess I’ll try it.” But even he, who’s a much less adventurous eater than I am, really enjoyed it and that first uneasy bite turned into a request for seconds and I think even thirds. I’m amazed to say that this even passed the kid test…
Everybody ate their food with a minimum of complaining and truly enjoyed it. Who knew something with crazy ingredients that I barely wanted to make would turn into a family favorite? I certainly didn’t.
Meat bobotie is an African meat pie dish (introduced to Africa by Dutch traders of all things),
almost like cottage or shepherds pie in England. However, instead of being topped with potatoes, it’s topped with eggs and the meat itself has a sweet, very mild spicy kick with nuts and raisins added for texture and flavor contrast. It’s so hard to describe, but honestly one of the most interesting dishes I’ve ever eaten and one I can’t recommend enough. Exotic, unique, really flavorful, and fairly easy to make. A great way to try some new flavors and foods while still using fairly common and “safe” ingredients for picky eaters.
When I made this recipe, I used a meatloaf mix of beef, veal, and pork… Ground lamb isn’t something I can find in the grocery stores around here (not that there is a snowballs chance in summer that anybody here would eat lamb) and I felt that the meatloaf mix would give me meat that easily kept its shape after cutting while staying moist.
While it’s been awhile that I used curry in a dish, I was instantly reminded (and thought I should remind readers) that the stuff stains like you wouldn’t believe. Clothes, counter
tops, napkins, you name it. While a shot of bleach spray gets it out pretty easily, work with it carefully. My only other note was that this recipe does not call for using a water bath. However, I think that cooking this in a water bath may be actually better than just putting it in the oven. Not that going without it will ruin the meal, I think that if I had used it I’d have gotten a more even cook on the custard while reducing the time in the oven. No big deal. My most important note on prep for this is to make sure…
Really, really, really, really sure… That when you drain the meat after it has been cooked on the stovetop, make sure you get as much fat out as absolutely possible. When it cooks in the oven, the fat actually seeps up around the edges and on to the custard, seriously impacting both cook time and the level of browning on the custard. If you find that fat has risen during baking onto the custard, gently use a spoon to try to scoop it out… And be warned again, the only thing that stains worse than curry is curry infused fat.
I know how crazy this recipe sounds. Even typing it out, I can’t believe all of the ingredients came together into something that tastes as wonderful as it did. But honestly, this is one of my new favorite family meals. It may even be my new “company is coming over, let’s serve something neat” meal. It’s certainly well worth making and I promise, especially for the folks out there who need their Boma fix, this will hit the spot.
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As is served at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Tusker House, Animal Kingdom
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 pounds ground lamb (substitute ground beef or meatloaf mix if desired)
- 3 slices white bread, crumbled into pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (substitute with almonds if desired), sliced
- 1/4 cup seedless raisins
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- Salt to taste
Heat oil and onions in a large and deep pan, cooking until caramelized over medium or medium high. Once caramelized, add cinnamon and curry powder. Mix well. Using the rice wine vinegar, deglaze the pan and add the meat. Continue cooking until meat is done. Curry powder alters the color of the meat, so meat will be done when it is moistened but will not not mash when pressed with a fork, about 10-15 minutes over medium or medium high heat.
When meat is done, remove from heat and drain grease, using a fork or spatula to press as much grease out as possible. Return meat and pan to medium heat. Add crumbled bread, cream, and sugar. Mix well. Add raisins and almonds. Adjust seasoning as needed and pour into a casserole dish to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 325.
In a separate bowl, whisk together liquid eggs, cream, and milk. When bobotie mixture isooled to slightly above room temperature and is no longer steaming, pour the topping over the meat mixture to form the topping. DO NOT MIX. Bake in preheated oven for 25-40 minutes (cooking time varies significantly depending on container used).
Bobotie is done when the topping is golden brown, egg is cooked and no longer runny, and the temperature at the center of the dish has reached 165. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving (this helps maintain the shape of the bobotie after slicing).