Friday, June 10, 2011

Boerewors in Brooklyn!

It took a while, but after we recovered from the promising but inconclusive and very fatty experience with Brooklyn-made boerewors last year, based on the first recipe that we used, we took a new one to our butcher and tried again. This after carefully chewing every piece of boerewors in South Africa to analyse variables such as texture, fat content and spice mix.

I tweaked our recipe, ditching the cubes of fat altogether and substituting pork belly for the 2lbs of lean pork required in the original. I added a little garam masala to the spice, I added more coriander, and also some allspice. Some cloves. More salt.

I took the spices and vinegar to Los Paisanos and presented Pedro with them. Then we waited two days before picking up our order...

Now, as any South African reading this will tell you, we did hit just one snag.

Right now they (stoppit!) are holding their sides and laughing like hyenas. The shape. Boerewors must be a single coil. Like this.

It was presented to us in links. I stifled a giggle.

But we are not proud. We are grateful that anyone is trying. We said nothing. We came home and we cooked, nervously, tensely. We picked a piece hot from the cast iron pan where it was smelling wonderful, burned our fingers and tasted. Our eyes welled with happy tears. Home. Perfection of flavor and texture.

We forgave every piece of string.

We now have boerewors in Brooklyn, our recipe will be on file (with a picture of a coiled sausage as a reminder), and if you want some, go to Los Paisanos on Smith Street and ask Mike or Pedro for Marie's Boerewors*, 6lb minimum order. I am hoping it may become a staple in their meat case, but that will only happen once South Africans get wind of this, or once locals fall in love (The Frenchie did not grow up with it, but it is probably his favourite food, after flan).

For ease of pronunciation we call it South African Farmers Sausage, since the Spanish and American tongues don't know what to do with boerewors.

Boo-ruh-vawrs. Lekker.

* Update. I have posted my recipe for boerewors next door at 66 Square Feet (the Food). For now Pedro says it's better if people bring the spices themselves when they want a batch made up. 


  1. I might not be able to say it but I can almost smell it, looks wonderful!

  2. YumEEE! Glad that you were able to recreate a piece of home for yourself.

  3. Boerewors!!! have you got the Mrs Balls chutney?
    I am so jealous!!!

  4. Congrats on your triumph!!

    Now tell us about how to cook it. All this time I thought you did the coil on a grill, but now you say cast iron pan?? pan on grill, perhaps?

  5. Looks fabulous, Marie - I would love to be able to sdample some

  6. I think we might have to go all the way to Brooklyn to get our boerewors!

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  8. Well done - it makes a great story! I confess I had no idea what goes into boerewors (pork belly, the spices and all). I find the local supermarket varieties here too strong and over-spiced - part of a general tendency to keep increasing flavourings and salt (resulting in a public with dumbed-down taste buds - sorry if this sounds harsh).

    Anyway, in my opinion 'Geldenhuys slagtery' in Prince Alfred Hamlet makes THE perfect wors. I'd be interested to hear what your foodie tastebuds make of it (texture, spices and all). So next time you're passing through Ceres... do make the slight detour.

  9. You are going to have to put together the spice packets for a 6 pound order and have them available for sale, Marie!

  10. HURRAH! And congratulations on finding a "tame" butcher to make it for you :) Funny how, more than anyother taste, that first bite of boerewors transports me straight back home. Far cheaper than a seat on SAA!! The wors looks lekker, links and all ;)

  11. Spice mixes coming up!

    Mal Content - ja nee, we have Mrs Balls, but I have never eaten it with wors. Is that allowed? I also don't do pap, perhaps just because it was not a tradition in our house. I love Mrs Balls with grated cheddar on heavy, seedy brown bread, with a healthy schmear of butter.

    dinah - ja!

    webb - you are right, we usually braai it on the coals, but cooked in a pan is fine, too. No fat required. I have also been known to make a tomato bredie with it (usually a lamb stew).

    Hi Marijks - I never thought about it either, until I had to come up with recipe that tasted like home. It is ubquitous in SA so who needs to make it? This one is beef, lamb and pork, and I used pork belly now rather than the spek or bacon some recipes call for. Prince Alfred, really? I would love to write story about wors.

    Jeanne - the links really made me laugh, and the (wonderful) butcher just didn't get why I thought it was funny.

  12. What the? I'll be right over. Girl, I vote for you for Brooklyn Borough President! This is awesome!

  13. Awesome accomplishment. Enjoy it, even if it IS links. Actually, for 2 eating 6lbs over time, maybe that's not so bad.

  14. I am in the LA area and do not live in Beverly Hills which is the only place that had a butcher that sold boerewors. Low and behold just discovered the only other place that does is 2 blocks away ... and it is pretty good a lady at our local YMCA brings a spice mix from SA... happy me.. Harmony Farms in La Crescenta


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