Go Make South Africa’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Never Look Back
It's called braaibroodjie and just may be the perfect summer sandwich
Enjoyed with a cold glass of milk or a delicious tomato soup, the easy-to-make grilled cheese finds its way onto most Americans’ plate at some point. But America doesn’t hold the monopoly on great grilled cheese. Consider: the braaiboodjie.
Braai is the traditional South African barbecue, where large groups of family and friends contribute to the grilled feast by bringing meat and other grillables in potluck fashion. Guests relax and socialize while the food is cooked over the wood-burning braaistand, or grill. Drinks and side dishes like vegetables and pap are cooked indoors to accompany the meal.
One of our favorite parts of the grill-everything meal is the braaibroodjie, or “barbecued bread,” that puts a savory twist on the old-fashioned grilled cheese. This recipe, a classic by braai-master chef Andy Fenner, starts as you might expect: bread, butter, sharp cheddar. But then go on thinly sliced tomato and onion and a sweet-and-savory South African staple: Mrs. Ball’s chutney. Those three savory add-ons do a lot to change the dairy-on-dairy formula that characterizes the plain ‘ol grilled cheese, and make for a far more complex—though just as easy to make—sandwich. If you can’t find Mrs. Ball’s, your favorite chutney works just fine, so long as it’s a little sweet, a little savory, and a little tangy.
The only other change from what you’re used to: skip the milk or tomato soup in favor of a beer. Chef’s orders.