For thanks giving this year we traveled to visit my parents who have retired and are living close to the village of De Rust along the Route 62, having loaded up our very excited fur babies and luggage , we set off on what was supposed to be leisurely drive through the back roads , on an adventure that would avoid the road works that cause delays on the main tar road in this area. Twenty minutes after we turned off onto the dirt road into the middle of nowhere , our trusty land cruiser shuddered to halt with a flat tyre in the sweltering midday heat …. only to discover the spare was flat as well and to add insult to injury for my poor husband , the wheel spanner we had bought with the car was the wrong size, so we were well and truly stuck.
Russell and I are firm believers that its not what happens to you in life but how you react that matters. What unfolded on the side of that dusty road , was the very essence of what Thanks Giving is all about. Every vehicle that came by stopped and offered to help us. Petrus , a farmer from De Rust loaded up Russell and the two spare tyres and took him back into Oudtshoorn to have them repaired , Koos a farm labourer with an awesome sense of humour, offered me an upside down bucket under a shady acacia thorn tree overlooking the nearby Ostrich pens and left me to contemplate a very cute feathery bird we had chosen for our dinner menu!
I was soon joined by Yolanda a ” Semigrant” sheep farmer from down the road, who arrived with the correct wheel spanner and a cooler box with ice cold drinks, as well as snacks for me and and the dogs. She insisted on staying and kept me company until the men returned with the repaired tyres, but not before my husbands beloved Land cruiser was finally over taken by a donkey cart being driven by a young a very chilled Rastafarian who we had left in the dust some miles back – we eventually caught up with him at the village of Dysseldorp. Arriving at the farm , we were welcomed by the crimson sunset as it silently slipped behind the Swartberg Mountains.
The quaint village of De Rust is situated close to the town of Oudtshoorn , the Ostrich farming Capital of South Africa, it seemed fitting to serve Ostrich instead of Turkey on the menu this year at Doornkraal , since we did not have an oven big enough to fit an Ostrich or the ingredients for a wheel barrow load of stuffing , Russell opted to just cook Ostrich Fillet medallions, Ostrich meat is delicious, naturally low-fat and is really tasty cooked on a smokey braai, you have to be careful not to over cook it as it can be dry. We like to serve it pink – so medium on the braai .
How to Braai Ostrich Fillet
Pat dry with kitchen paper.
Brush the fillets with olive oil. Place on a braai grid over moderately hot coals and braai meat turning occasionally. Season the meat after grilling as salt can cause the loss of meat juices
Rare: 5 – 6 minutes
Medium: 9 -10 minutes
Well done: 13 – 14 minutes
Peppery Mushroom Sauce – Serves 4
This is a sauce that I have used for years with steak but it works well with Ostrich too.
- 4 Ostrich Medallions or Beef fillet Steak
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1/2 a punnet of button mushrooms – finely sliced so it cooks quickly
- 2 tablespoons of Red Wine – I used Boplaas Pinotage
- 1 cup thick sour cream
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- 1 pinch of salt
Add olive to the pan and allow to heat, add Mushrooms and Garlic fry for about 5 minutes on medium heat until soft.
Add red wine and cook until wine has evaporated from the Pan.
Add cream and pepper and pinch of salt – turn head to medium low and simmer for about two minutes until heated through.
Serve with creamy Mash Potato , layered with spinach leaves and top with Ostrich steak and Peppery Mushroom sauce and serve. If you have vegetarians this dish works well with out the steak too!