Bonsmara Beef Stew with Self-Saucing Rice Dumplings


There are countless self-saucing puddings out there, but I’ve never come across a self-saucing rice. And what a missed opportunity considering what a pleasurable staple rice drenched in sauce really is. When these delectable dumplings come out of the oven and you slice into them, a velvety sweet-savoury sauce oozes out of them that brings the whole dish together in the most beautiful, nostalgic way. In the spirit of Klein JAN, we sourced the Bonsmara beef from Upington Slaghuis – our meat supplier in the Kalahari – and the pistachios in the rice dumplings from Prieska.

Bonsmara Beef Stew with Self-Saucing Rice Dumplings

PREP TIME: 3 hours | COOKING TIME: 4 hours | SERVES: 6


for the beef stew

1 kg whole beef chuck

50 ml olive oil

2 sticks celery, roughly chopped (keep leaves)

½ red onion, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

15 ml tomato paste

500 ml beef stock

250 ml dry red wine

5 sprigs thyme

5 sprigs parsley (finely chopped)

3 baby onions

to taste freshly ground black pepper

to taste sea salt flakes

for the rice dumplings

300 ml Spekko Jasmine Long Grain White Rice, cooked

100 ml beef stock

50 ml beef sauce (from stew)

300 ml water

100 g dried peaches

100 g dates whole

5 ml oxtail soup powder

30 g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

to taste freshly ground black pepper

to taste sea salt flakes

for the garnish

12 thyme sprigs

1 egg white

40 g granulated sugar

3 dates

12 celery leaves, deep fried

100 ml canola oil

Maldon salt


For the beef stew

Preheat the oven to 160 °C.

Clean all the excess sinew from the meat and brush with 30 ml olive oil, season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside. To a large saucepan, add the remaining olive oil and fry the red onion, celery, and carrot until a light brown colour is achieved. Add the tomato paste and cook over medium heat for 5 – 10 min while stirring occasionally, add the thyme and parsley and deglaze with the red wine and beef stock and allow to reduce over medium heat for 15 minutes.

In a clean cast iron pan, sear the meat and baby onion until golden brown in colour. Cover with the liquid and place in the oven for 3 – 4 hours until the meat is tender.   

For the rice dumplings

Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Before starting to cook the rice make the stewed fruit filling, start by removing the pips of the dates and slicing them in half, place in a small saucepan together with the dried peaches, 50 ml beef stock, 50 ml beef sauce, and 300 ml water, bring to the boil and reduce heat and allow to gently simmer for 40 min, place the liquid, oxtail soup powder and cooked dried fruit in a blender and blend until smooth and place in a small tray in the freezer (2 cm deep).  Allow the cooked rice to cool down to room temperature and add 20 g chopped pistachio, 50 ml beef stock, salt, and pepper and mix through. Scoop small spheres of the frozen dried fruit puree using a melon baller and place a thin layer of rice over it to cover the puree, roll gently between the palm of your hands to create a sphere. Place in an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil, bake for 15 min, and serve immediately. When slicing into the rice dumplings, the sauce will run out and sauce the rice from the inside. Garnish with remaining pistachio nuts.

For the garnish

Preheat the oven to 120 °C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Whisk the egg white until soft peek, gently dip the thyme sprigs inside the egg white, gently shake off the excess egg white and dip into the sugar, ensuring the entire sprig is lightly covered. Place in the oven for 40 – 50 min until dried.

Slice the dates into small cubes and set aside. Heat the oil and deep fry the celery leaves and season with salt as soon it is removed from the oven.