The humble jaffle can invoke many a happy childhood memory of weekends spent camping: the anticipation while waiting for the bread to brown, the impatience at having to wait a little longer for the filling to cool and finally, the pain-pleasure felt at the first deliciously scalding bite.
The appeal of the jaffle lies in the combination of treats that it recalls – sandwich meets pie. A crisp outer shell that contains a wealth of saucy goodness at its centre, the jaffle is the ultimate comfort food that can be made with relatively little fuss.
Essentially no different from a sandwich, the key to a good jaffle is the bread: choose a thickly sliced white farm loaf to ensure that the filling doesn’t ooze out and that the crust crisps up for that desired crunch.
As far as fillings go, the sky is the limit. Traditionally, cheese and tomato, savoury mince or creamed mushrooms held sway – here we’ve embraced the jaffle’s heritage in a different way by using slow-roasted springbok leg, pulled and made into a rich ragu, combined with the earthiness of fresh goat’s cheese. Although it’s a little more time-consuming than other fillings, stuffing a jaffle with venison takes the rustic favourite into gourmet territory.
Prep time: 20 minutes / Cooking time: 4 hours / Serves: 4 to 6
2 bulbs of garlic, individual cloves peeled
8-10 sprigs of fresh rosemary, washed
1kg springbok leg roast
1 750ml bottle red wine
Coarsely ground salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 160°C. In a large roasting dish, tuck the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs in and around the springbok leg and pour over the red wine. Season the meat with salt and pepper and cover with foil before roasting in the oven for 3.5 hours. For the final 30 minutes of roasting, remove the foil and ramp up the oven to 220°C to allow the liquid to reduce and the meat to caramelise. The roast is done when it falls off the bone without difficulty. Using two forks, shred the meat and discard any bones or gristle. If you need to reduce the liquid further, simmer the mixture over a low heat until bubbling and thickened.
venison-filled jaffle with chèvre
Prep time: 15 minutes / Cooking time: 20 minutes / Serves: 4 to 6
8-12 slices of fresh, thick-sliced white bread
Springbok ragu (about 50g per jaffle)
Goat’s cheese (we used Druk My Niet’s Rosemary Chevre) or mozzarella cheese, grated or crumbled
Butter the bread on both sides and place one slice into the jaffle iron, butter-side down. Add in a helping of the springbok ragu and sprinkle the cheese over it. Top with another slice of bread, butter-side up and close the jaffle iron securely. Remove any crust corners that stick out. Place the jaffle iron either over hot coals or a gas hob and cook on both sides until the bread is crisp and golden and the cheese has melted (about 5 minutes per side). Using a knife, gently loosen the jaffle and serve immediately with a full-bodied red, such as Druk My Niet’s Malbec.