Happy Heritage Day South Africans! And isn’t it just the most gorgeous sunny day to be celebrating our cultural heritage?
So in honour of the occasion, I give to you … Boerewors Pizza! I figure there is just no point posting braai (barbecue, for the non-South-Africans) recipes since every single South African has their own special recipe/equipment/technique/fuel of choice etc., which are all highly-flammable topics prone to heated debate.
I made this pizza for visitors from the Netherlands, whom I was fortunate enough to host for a night; on the day that they were due to arrive I was so excited that they were visiting that I woke up at the crack of dawn. I needed something to keep me busy and so made a batch of pizza dough – pizza dough is the best thing to have hanging around the freezer, and far, far superior to the alien plastic-tasting biscuit-y discs they sell in the freezer section of the supermarket under the name “Pizza Bases”. I generally freeze mine in the baking pan to keep them flat and round, then wrap them and stack them for future use. They can go straight from the freezer to the oven – this never fails to impress unexpected guests, you will earn some serious domestic-goddess points (I hear that if you rack up enough of these you can have your name changed to “Nigella”).
Anyway, so I then had all this pizza dough and got to thinking maybe it would make a nice light lunch for my guests before we launched into the braai-proper with all the meaty bells and whistles. And then I thought “well, the pizza is round, and the boerewors is in a round spiral shape” and that led to this awesome pizza. It’s kind of a cross between a Boerie Roll and a pizza, which makes it slightly fancier and it’s much more attractive with it’s boerewors “stripes” on each slice.
For one Proudly South African Pizza: (plus 2 or 3 spare pizza bases for the freezer)
1kg cake flour
1 sachet (10g) instant yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cups of warm NOT HOT water (if it’s hot it will kill the yeast)
1 spiral boerewors (if you aren’t fortunate enough to be South African, get a big fat coarse sausage, and shape it into a spiral. Shame.)
1 large onion, plus some sugar and vinegar
Tomato puree from a can
Cheese – I used grated cheddar and mozzarella (you can’t have a pizza without mozzarella, if the Mafia gets wind of it they will throw you in a cement mixer).
Large handful of fresh coriander leaves
Mrs. Ball’s chutney for serving
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Add the oil and half of the water into the well and mix, pulling flour into the middle. Add more water little by little as needed. It will form a sticky icky dough – have hot soapy water waiting in the kitchen sink in case you need to use your hands for something else. There must be some kind of law that says that as soon as your hands are covered in gloopy dough, your phone will ring or your nose will itch.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface, then take a deep breath and flex your muscles in preparation for the next step – 10 minutes of energetic kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the ball of dough in a bowl and cover lightly with clingfilm, then leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until it’s doubled in size. You know how if you go to gym and don’t go the next day, you are even more stiff on the second day after the workout? So now that you’ve given your arms a serious workout, you need to keep them moving so they don’t end up stiff and sore. I recommend lifting a wine bottle with one hand and pouring the contents into a large glass in the other hand, then alternate hands to lift the glass to your mouth.
This is also the time to cook the boerewors and the onion. Put the boerewors in a medium-heat pan (no fat needed – it’s got plenty) and cook slowly, turning occasionally until it’s cooked through and well browned (you could do this on the braai too, by the way, but I didn’t want to start a fire just for one sausage). Peel the onion and slice in half, then finely slice. When the boerewors is done, remove it and set it aside to cool then fry the onions in the boerewors fat until it’s really soft. Add a bit of sugar followed by a splash of vinegar, and keep cooking until it’s sticky and soft and caramelised (keep tasting and add more sugar, vinegar or salt as needed) (but don’t eat all of it!). When the boerewors is cool, slice it in half through the middle – if it’s kept whole it will be far too heavy and filling. Now you have an excuse to make a second boerewors pizza!
When the dough’s ready, divide it up into 3 or 4 equal pieces (the number of pizza bases will depend on how big and how thin your want your pizza to be). This pizza will be quite rich so when you start rolling the pieces out, put some elbow-grease into it and get it as thin as possible – I’m talking thin to the point of transparency, about 3mm at most.
Spread a bit of tomato puree over the pizza base. A note on the tomato concoction used on pizza’s – there are hundreds of recipes for the perfect tomato sauce, but to me it’s not the focal point of the dish hence not worth spending tons of time over the stove for. No-one’s ever complained that the pizza is lacking in tomato-ness.
Evenly sprinkle lots of grated cheese over the tomato – it will act as a delicious ooey-gooey glue, holding the toppings in place when you cut the pizza. Then sprinkle the caramelised onion over the cheese, followed by the halved boerewors spiral.
Heat the oven to maximum temperature (mine is 230 degrees Celsius) then bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes or until the base is golden at the edges and everything is hot and bubbling.
Scatter ripped-up coriander over the top (coriander, because there’s lots of coriander seed in the boerewors), slice into wedges, and serve with Mrs. Balls chutney for dolloping over the top. Wash it down with a big fat red wine or large quantities of beer, out in the sun on a picnic blanket while you start the braai. Sing the national anthem, if you like (nevermind the neighbours, the song’s not that long).
Later, when everyone’s stumbled off home, have a slice of cold leftover pizza while patriotically reading a bit of Herman Charles Bosman’s Voorkamer Stories (my favourite so far is “A Bekkersdal Marathon”). Wash it down with a little keelnatmakertjie of OBS :-).