On any Nat Hab trip, it’s the charismatic wildlife and breathtaking vistas that take center stage, but there’s something else our travelers frequently come home raving about—the incredible food! For years, our guests have been asking us to share recipes from our trips, so we’re bringing you a weekly recipe roundup featuring our favorite dishes from Nat Hab trips around the world.

To kick things off, we’re featuring comforting soup and stew recipes from the safari camps on our Secluded Botswana Safari. Since we’re staying at home during this pandemic era, these nourishing dishes are perfect because they freeze well—just double the recipe to have enough to freeze for later.

Stay tuned next week when we’ll be featuring mouth-watering recipes from Portugal’s Douro wine region.

Bon appetit, or Itumelele dijo as they say in Botswana’s local language of Setswana!

Cauliflower Soup

Jacana Camp

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
6 ¼ cups chicken stock (vegetable stock would also work)
1 bay leaf
1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
8 pieces of bacon, chopped (optional)
4 bread rolls
Grated nutmeg and finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking trays with foil. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onion and garlic, then cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the potato, chicken stock, bay leaf and three-quarters of the cauliflower, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until cauliflower and potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir through the cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season to taste. Meanwhile, place the bacon and remaining cauliflower on one of the lined baking trays. Season with pepper, then drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until crisp. Put the bread rolls on a separate tray, sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and bake for 2 minutes or until golden. Divide soup among 4 bowls, then top with crispy cauliflower and bacon. Sprinkle with nutmeg and parsley, drizzle with oil and serve with bread rolls.

African Peanut Stew

Jacana Camp

5.5 lbs beef stewing meat or a meat substitute such as seitan*
4 ¼ cups beef stock (vegetable or mushroom stock would also work)
1 cup peanut butter
1 large onion chopped
6-8 large tomatoes, blanched and peeled, and roughly chopped (stewed canned tomatoes would also work)
1 red chili pepper, sliced in rings
1 bulb garlic, smashed (about 10 large cloves)
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste

*In Botswana, this recipe traditionally uses beef or venison. Seitan (a wheat-based meat alternative) makes a tasty substitute for vegetarians and those looking to lower their environmental impact. If using beef or venison in this recipe, please consider choosing locally raised, grass-fed meat as a more sustainable option than conventionally-raised meat.

Rinse stewing meat well. Sear meat, and deglaze pan and keep the sauce. Heat up oil in cast iron pot (or any large pot or Dutch oven) and fry off the onion till just turning golden brown. Add the smashed garlic, and fry till onions and golden brown. Add the rest of the ingredients, placing the peanut butter in last. (This ensures it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan as things are heating up.) Bring ingredients to a boil, and then allow to simmer uncovered 2.5 hours, or until meat is fork tender and the liquid has reduced by approximately half.

Curried Carrot and Apple Soup

Gomoti Tented Camp

2 tablespoons sunflower oil (vegetable or canola oil would also work)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 ¼ lbs carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 Golden Delicious apple, chopped (any apple variety would work)
3 and 2/3 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock would also work)
Salt and pepper
Natural low fat yogurt or sour cream and carrot curls to garnish

Heat oil and gently fry the curry powder for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, onion and apple, stir well then cover the pan. Cook over a very low heat for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until softened.  Spoon the vegetable mixture into a food processor or blender, then add half the stock and process until smooth. (An immersion blender would also work well.) Return to the pan and pour in the remaining stock.  Bring the soup to the boil and adjust the seasoning before serving in bowls, garnished with a swirl of yogurt and a few curls of carrot.

Sweet Potato Bhuna Masala

Gomoti Tented Camp

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom pods, seeds only
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped or grated
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 large tomato (7 oz), chopped
5 oz light coconut milk
1 lb sweet potatoes, diced
1 and 1/4 cup (7 oz) fresh or frozen peas

Place the cumin, coriander and cardamom in a frying pan over a medium heat and toast for a minute until they are fragrant. Grind the spices in a pestle and mortar to a fine powder. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Fry the onion for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized. Add the garlic, ginger, ground spices, curry powder, chili powder and cinnamon stick to the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and sweet potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the peas 5 minutes before end of cooking.

Corn Soup

Linyanti Tented Camp

1 lb potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon salt, divided
3 tablespoons softened butter, divided
2 cans of corn (15 oz cans)
¾ cup finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon paprika
3 cups reduced fat milk
½ cup cream
2 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place the potatoes and 2 teaspoons of salt in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let the potatoes stand in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan, add onions and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and the paprika and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Stir in potatoes, add sweetcorn kernels, milk, cream and thyme sprigs, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Discard the thyme sprigs, Stir in the chives and the remaining ingredients. Half blend so your soup is somewhat chunky.

Chicken Stew

Gomoti Tented Camp

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast and 4 chicken thighs or a meat substitute such as seitan*
¼ cup butter
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 packet of dried cream of mushroom soup
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion or half a large onion, sliced
1 can chopped tomatoes (15 oz can)

*In Botswana, this recipe traditionally uses chicken. Seitan (a wheat-based meat alternative) makes a tasty substitute for vegetarians and those looking to lower their environmental impact. If using chicken for this recipe, please consider choosing locally raised, free range chicken as a more sustainable option than conventionally-raised chicken.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the chicken breast halves on a baking sheet; bake 20 to 30 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat, and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, mix in the chopped tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, and cream of mushroom soup, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. Arrange the mushrooms and onions over the bottom of a 9×9 inch baking dish. Pour half the mixture from the saucepan over the mushrooms. Arrange chicken breasts in the dish, and cover with the remaining sauce mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in the 400°F oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Butternut Squash Soup

Linyanti Tented Camp

2 butternut squashes, cubed
4 potatoes, cubed
2 onions, chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons ground cumin
6 and 1/4 cups vegetable stock (chicken stock would also work)

Saute onion, garlic and 2 heaping teaspoons of cumin in a little oil. Add butternut squash and potatoes and let them sweat for a while, approx. 10 minutes then add stock and simmer until butternut and potatoes are soft. Puree with no lumps or mash well, very well. Add another tablespoon of cumin and a large dash of milk then salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh coriander.