It does not matter where we as South Africans find ourselves around the globe. If there is an opportunity to Braai (Grill outside over a wood fire), there's a very high chance that Braaibroodtjies are accompanying our meal of farmers sausage, lamb chops, chicken and salads. The Afrikaans word broodjie translates to sandwich in English, therefore Braaibroodtjie means grilled sandwich. They are usually prepared after everything else is done cooking and the embers start to fade - the ideal temperature to toast bread and impart a wonderful smoked flavor.
The Braaibroodtjie of my childhood was unapologetically unsophisticated. Layers of tomato, onions, cheddar and white bread spread with butter - Ingredients that were mostly always availabe, save for the cheese that sometimes got left off during more difficult times. Do you sometimes remember things unintentionally and feel super nostalgic?
When I make Braaibroodtjies now, I want my guests here in America to have the best possible experience eating them. I step up my Summer grilling game by using sourdough bread, sun dried tomato butter, heirloom tomatoes, red onion and my favorite Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar. I always put a little extra cheese now, and buy the best possible while stilll being economical at the same time. When I'm making Braaibroodtjies I look for an aged cheddar that will stand up to the onion and char brought on by the fire, but one that will also melt easily. The range of Tillamook Cheddar Loaves recently became available at my local supermarket and I've never been happier. I find it's better to buy a good loaf of real cheese and shred, cube, or slice it myself to use in a variety of dishes - My Home Economics teacher would be so proud.
A few notes:
- You can definitely use a griddle pan inside instead, but you will lose the smoke.
- I prefer extra sharp cheddar, but Tillamook has a wonderful selection of high-quality cheddars that would work wonderfully. Try the Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar Loaf! Find out where it's available near you here!
- This isn't one of those recipes where everything is measured precisely. It's about the joy of eating a toasty melted cheese sandwich fireside. Customize it to your liking and have fun!
8 slices sourdough bread
sun dried tomato butter (recipe follows)
1/4 Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Loaf, sliced (roughly 12 slices)
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Optional: 1/4 cup peach chutney, or any sweet and sour chutney
For Sun Dried Tomato Butter, combine:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. sun dried tomato paste
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
1. Spread each slice of bread with sun dried tomato butter. Place 4 slices, buttered side down, on a work surface or directly on to a grill basket (see example below). Top with a thin layer of chutney and then cheese, onion and tomato slices. Place remaining bread slices on top, butter side up.
2. Grill for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat source until the bread is slightly charred around the edges and the cheese is melted. I sometimes like to place them on my covered smoker for longer as well, 8 minutes at 275F. Remove from the grill and slice, serving 1/2 sandwich to each guest as a side.
This post is sponsored by Tillamook but all opinions are my own.