Babotie – South African Mince Meat Pie
Babotie, a surprisingly and elegant casserole that is so diffused in South Africa that it has become the country’s national dish. Traditionally, it would take 1 to 1 1/2 hours to prepare by baking in the oven. But you can have this dish ready in 30 minutes – including the grill finish!
When bringing you a recipe that’s new to me too, like this South African dish, I read and research hundreds of recipes. Everyone seems to have their own, personalized version. I look for the common thread in all of the recipes to determine the base, and then garnish and add according to various ingredients that seem to go well together and would not be out of place in this region. Reading so many recipes, also helps me come up with suggested ingredient substitutions. Then, even if a pressure cooker version exists, I translate it to the pressure cooker myself from the original or base recipe to make sure that it’s as close to the original as possible (but faster). In the case of the South African Babotie, no pressure cooker version exists so I proudly present you another “first”!
Serve with “Yellow Rice” which is a fluffy (white rice spiced with turmeric, sugar, cinnamon and raisins); and fresh slices of tropical fruit (mango, papaya, etc.), a refreshing salad or a good helping of Chutney.
I strongly encourage my South African readers to comment to share their Babotie version!
Use any heat proof round casserole that will fit in your pressure cooker. In my case, I used a Pyrex Souffle’ dish – after careful measuring and several trips to the store I was confident enough that it would fit in my pressure cooker to buy it. I suggest you do the same when adding to your pressure cooker accessory menagerie (but don’t overlook your own kitchen cupboards since you may have the perfect ceramic dish hiding in plain sight!)
Pressure Cooker Recipe: Babotie – South African Mince Meat Pie
Quantities for a 8 cup/2L/64oz, or 8.25 inch/21cm wide souffle’ dish measure the dish and your pressure cooker carefully before making the dish.
2 lbs or 1k of Ground Beef, Lamb or mix
Tear the bread into medium chunks, and cover in milk, set aside. Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and pour boiling water over it to soak, set aside.
In a large, wide, sautee pan over medium heat, add the oil and onions and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the curry powder, Turmeric, salt and pepper to taste, ground meat, break it up and cook it until it begins to turn golden and all of the liquid has evaporated (about 5-7 minutes). Turn off the heat, and mix in the sugar.
Squeeze the bread and add it to the pan (keep the milk to use later for the topping).
Then add the sugar, lemon juice and zest, almonds, and strained dried fruit. Mix well and pour into buttered baking dish. Push down lightly and flatten the meat mixture.
Prepare the pressure cooker by inserting the trivet, or steamer basket, and filling it with one cup of water. Make helper handles and lower the uncovered heat-proof dish into the pressure cooker – ensuring that the dish is centered and not touching the sides of the pressure cooker.
Close and lock the lid, turn the heat to high. From the time the pan reaches pressure lower the heat and count 15 minutes cooking time at HIGH pressure.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the custard topping. Mix the eggs into the milk.
When the cooking time is up, open the pressure cooker using the Normal method – release the pressure by pushing, twisting or opening a valve.
Carefully remove the baking dish and pour the custard mixture over the meat, and add the Bay Leaves, and cover with tin foil. Lower in the pressure cooker again.
Close and lock lid, pressure cook high for 3 minutes, normal open. Serve as is, or brown the custard under the grill of your oven.