My love for samp and beans started long ago. My mother says it started when I was a toddler and I got a strep infection in my throat and mouth. Apparently I refused to eat for about four or five days because of the pain. Eventually the doctor said I should be sent to hospital so they could put me on a drip but our old farm hand, Sam, told my mother to hold off, he would get me to eat. He came back with a pot of very soft cooked samp and beans. I apparently loved this and because of the texture it didn’t hurt my mouth. Consequently I did not have to be sent to hospital after all.
I believe Sam’s secret was to add a packet of Royco soup mix to the water in which he cooked the samp and beans. I naturally have my own way and each time it will be different but the basic recipe listed below is a winner. There are a few quirks but trust me they make all the difference.
For a meatier version, it would be ideal to brown stewing meat or chicken pieces with the onions and slow cooking it along with the samp. Either way this is a warming rich tasting stew which is as old as the South African people themselves.
Samp and beans my way
1 Tbsp of oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped
250g dried samp and beans
100g extra dried sugar beans (or beans of choice)
1 litre of stock (veg, chicken, lamb, beef – ie. your favourite)
1 litre of boiling water
1 tsp of mild curry powder
1 ½ tsp of salt
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup of butternut, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup of grated carrot
1 tsp of marmite
1 Tbsp of tomato paste (optional or you can use tomato sauce)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp peanut (or other nut) butter (I know this sounds odd but it is amazing)
Gently heat the oil and fry your onions and garlic in a thick bottomed medium sized pot. If you wanted to add stewing meat or chicken pieces, now would be the time to brown your meat. Add the samp and beans and cover with the stock and boiling water. Add the curry and salt and simmer. Chop, dice and grate the veggies and add them to the pot and simmer for about one and a half to two hours on low heat. Check on it every so often and add boiling water if needed.
Once the samp and beans have softened add the marmite, tomato paste, sugar and peanut butter and simmer for a further 15 – 30 minutes stirring every so often to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and until it gets a lovely saucy consistency.
I freeze portions of this for quick meals and it freezes beautifully.