Seswaa is the national dish of Botswana – but the British High Commissioner to the country, Sian Price, says it “doesn’t lend itself to finger food”.
That’s why this recipe for seswaa and English mustard ‘sausage’ rolls was created, with Price calling it a “Batswana take on a British party food classic”.
(Serves 10 as a canapé)
500g slow-cooking beef (such as chuck shoulder), on the bone
15g ground black pepper
2tbsp English mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the puff pastry:
250g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1tsp fine sea salt
250g butter, at room temperature
Or use a 500g packet of all-butter frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1. Place the beef in a heavy-based saucepan with the salt and pepper, and enough water to just cover. Place the pan over a high heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the meat easily falls from the bone – about two to two-and-a-half hours. Keep adding more water if the pan is running dry.
2. While the beef is cooking, make the puff pastry, if necessary. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Break the butter into small chunks and rub them into the flour, until combined but with visible lumps. Make a well in the centre and gradually mix in about 100ml of cold water, until you have a firm, rough dough. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Turn out your rested dough on to a lightly floured work surface and knead gently, then form it into a smooth, fat rectangle. Roll out the dough (in one direction only) until it is about 20cm x 50cm. Try to keep the edges straight, and don’t worry if you can see streaks of butter – it should look a little ‘marbled’.
3. Fold the top one third of your dough rectangle down over the middle third and then fold the bottom third up and over that. Give the pastry a quarter turn and then roll it out again until it is about three times its starting length. Fold in thirds as before and then wrap the dough in cling film again and chill it again for at least 20 minutes, or until the beef is ready.
4. Once the beef is cooked, tip out any excess water and then pound the beef with a meat mallet or heavy wooden spoon until it has a ‘shredded’ appearance.
5. When you’re ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board until it is about 60cm x 30cm, and then cut it in half lengthways.
6. Spread a thin layer of mustard over both pieces of pastry (more if you like more bite!), leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Then divide your seswaa (shredded beef) in half, and use each half to form a ‘sausage’ along the longer edge of your pastry pieces.
7. Paint the edge of your pastry with the beaten egg, then wrap the pastry around your seswaa sausages. Press the tines of a fork along the join, to make sure the filling is tightly sealed. Then, use a sharp knife to cut each roll into pieces of the desired size – around 2-3cm is good for finger food, but it’s really up to you.
8. Brush some more of the egg wash over the tops of the rolls and then place them on a lined baking tray and cook them in the oven for 25–35 minutes (depending how large they are), or until the pastry is puffed up and golden and the filling is piping hot. Serve warm.
The Platinum Jubilee Cookbook by Ameer Kotecha is published by Jon Croft Editions, priced £30. Photography by David Loftus. Available April 28.
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