When I lived in South Africa boerewors was always the last thing I went for at a braai [barbecue]. I was way more interested in lamb chops or rump steak. Having been in Blighty for sixteen years now, my tastebuds have started to hanker after the real taste of home.
So what is boerewors?
The word is comprised of two Afrikaans words - "boer" means farmer and "wors" means sausage. So it's farmers sausage.
"Boerewors is made from coarsely minced beef (sometimes combined with minced pork, lamb, or both) and spices (usually coriander seed, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice). Traditional boerewors is usually formed into a continuous spiral. Boerewors is often served with pap (traditional South African porridge made from mielie-meal)"
The sausage is very highly spiced and has a unique flavour. Historically [we're taking centuries ago] this sausage was air-dried to preserve it and the spices helped with the preservation. The rustic nature of this sausage makes me think of the hardy Voortrekkers [settlers moving inland from the Cape to inhabit the hinterland] encamped in a circle of ox-wagons hoping that the indigenous tribesmen wouldn't kill them in their sleep.
This dry sausage [droe wors] is still popular today along with biltong [jerky] which is dried sticks of beef, game or ostrich.
Recently I was delighted to discover a Cruga South African Shop within striking distance in Milton Keynes. They sell regular, garlic and peri-peri wors and it's delicious! The nice thing about wors [aside from the fact that it's so spiced that it stinks the fridge out] is that it the meat has a slightly granular consistency, so it's chewier than your average banger in the U.K.
Once every fortnight we treat ourself to grilled boerewors, fried eggs and chips. I like to dip the wors into runny egg yolk and then, when the yolk runs out, I squeeze out a lake of tomato sauce [ketchup] and dip into that. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!
Photos courtesty of: Flickr.com - creative commons - Paul Watson & Elston