Saturday was another gloriously bright sunny day and as this weekend is a long weekend with Monday being Labour Day, we’re taking full advantage of relaxing at home and slapping a few chunks of meat onto the BBQ, or rather, the Braai. We have a small bbq, but being South African through and through, we never stay away from the braai for too long.
So while hubby takes care of the lamb, chicken and boerewors, I set about preparing the potatoes. I’ve done these in the oven as roast hassleback potatoes a few times and they are truly scrumptious, having seen Nigella do these on one of her shows a few years ago, but they work really well as a braai accompaniment too…wrapped in tin foil and cooked on the coals – or the grid if the coals are still too hot.
All they really are are washed unpeeled potatoes, sliced about two thirds of the way through (from the top down and slices about 5 ml apart), then filled with a buttery garlic and herb mixture. Sprinkle a little fresh salt over the top and wrap them individually in tin foil – voila! That’s it. Easy As! (And that’s my bit of Kiwi slang added in to show I’ve been here a long while now).
Place them onto the coals or the grid as previously mentioned and turn them occasionally. To check when they’re cooked, pierce gently with a skewer which should slide in easily when the flesh is delectably soft and ready to eat. Depending on the size of the potato, they can take anywhere from 30 – 50 minutes to cook but adding them early means they should be ready by the time all the meat is cooked and has rested for a few minutes. These probably won’t work if you’re having a bbq instead of a braai as the cooking is all done and dusted in only a few minutes and the potatoes won’t even be close to being cooked through.
Nigella gave a great tip to prevent you cutting the potatoes all the way through: place each potato in a wooden spoon or large serving spoon before slicing. Stop slicing when the blade touches the spoon. Then be careful when you fill them with the buttery mixture as if you pull the slices too far apart, they may snap off.
1 potato per person
1 tsp butter per potato
1 – 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (depending on the number of potatoes)
fresh parsley, chopped fine (or ½ – 1 tsp dried parsley)
- Wash and carefully slice potatoes using the spoon tip above so you don’t cut all the way through.
- Add garlic and herbs to butter and combine well.
- Carefully insert into slice openings without snapping off the sections.
- Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and wrap up in tin foil, making sure the potato is completely covered.
- Place onto the grid if the coals are too hot or add directly to the outer edge of the coals. You will need to turn the little potato parcels occasionally so they cook evenly and don’t burn.
- Depending on the size of the potato and the heat of the coals, they will take 30 – 50 minutes to cook. Pierce them with a skewer to test. The skewer should slide in gracefully – then you know the texture is fluffy and beautiful.
- TIP: Don’t unwrap each parcel on your plate as it will be covered in dust and charcoal. Unwrap separately and discard the tin foil before placing onto your food plate.