Thursday, June 14, 2012

Congo: Cooking Around the World

We are on  a roll with our Cooking Around the World Adventure. Tonight we traveled to the Congo via tabletop when Riley made a Babute (Curried Beef Meatloaf), a traditional Congo recipe for a minced beef meatloaf with apricots flavoured with curry powder.

First a few words about the Congo. I am using the name to refer to different countries. Two, I think. There's the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. One was a French territory, the latter, and the other Belgian, the former. But they were united before 1960 until the Democratic Republic declared its independence. The Belgian side of things - the Democratic Republic of the Congo - was called 'Zaire' between 1971 and 1997. In 1971 then-President Mobutu renamed the country Zaire, from a Portuguese mispronunciation of the Kikongo word nzere or nzadi, which translates to "the river that swallows all rivers." And somewhere in there is Middle Congo. Confused yet? I sure am.

To simplify, we talked about the countries along the Congo River, the deepest river in the world, "the river that swallows all rivers." Though politically divergent, culinarily these nations are almost indistinguishable. Traditional Congolese meals use a combination of locally available fruit, grains and vegetables, milk and meat products. Freshwater fish and bushmeat also form an important part of the diet.

Babute is a dish named after the region in the Congo from which it derives, at least that's what I'm reading. However, it looks suspiciously similar to the South African bobotie I made for Brian's 37th birthday a couple of years ago. Meat plus curry plus apricots. Hmmm.... In any case, here's Congolese babute...with a few cooking tips from the bobotie.

1 pound 96/4 orgranic, grass-fed beef
1 pound all natural ground pork
1 T curry powder
2 eggs, beaten
2 C thinly sliced dried apricots
1 C caramelized Spring onions
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 C milk
6 bay leaves
freshly ground pink Himalaya salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the beef, pork, apricots, onions, curry powder, and 2 eggs together in a bowl. Mix well.

 Press meat mixture into mini loaf pans. Bake for 40 minutes.

Combine the eggs and milk and pour the mixture over the top and float the bay leaves on top. Return the dish to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.


So, with tonight's dinner Riley got us one country closer to the end of our adventure and checked off one of his summer projects for 5th grade. I love that one of his assignments was to cook dinner for the family. I'm blogging it, but he has to do a five-paragraph write-up about his recipe and process. Sweet.

1 comment:

  1. Looks beautiful. Love it that you called for farm raised and farm fresh meats.


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