North African lamb knuckle Bredie

When it comes to celebrations, there’s nothing quite like lamb to mark the occasion. This Easter, I’m making a North African lamb knuckle Bredie in place of a more traditional roast leg of lamb. As the days become shorter and air brisk , I’m drawn to hearty casseroles that offer warmth and comfort. The flavours of this bredie are redolent of classic Cape Malay cuisine, rich in personality and a complete joy to eat.

North African lamb knuckle Bredie

Bredie is as much a part of South African food culture as Milktart and pancakes. Traditionally, it’s made using  mutton or stewing lamb. As with most stews, the flavourings are efficiently simple with foundational basics like onion, garlic and a good stock. From there, you can add any number of vegetables. Pumpkin, green beans and waterblommetjies are firm favourites. Typically, bredie is a slow-cooked Cape Malay stew. While not especially hot, it is mildly spicy with great depth of flavour. Coriander, garam masala and cumin are responsible for the earthiness of the sauce, while ginger and chilli offer a heated element. I balance the savouriness and tomatoey acids with a squidge of honey.

Choosing the right cut of meat for your North African Lamb Knuckle Breadie

Here, I’ve used lamb knuckles. They’re fatty and gelatinous with a gentler taste than mutton. You could of course use lamb shanks or boneless lamb pieces. Bear in mind though, that meat on the bone with some fattiness with deepen the flavour of the bredie.

North African lamb knuckle Bredie

I cooked the bredie in my new Instant Pot. It’s a game changer as far as pressure and slow cooking is concerned. After 45 minutes, the meat falls away from the bone and is soft enough to eat with a spoon. Once I’ve reduced and thickened the sauce with a cornflour slurry, I mix in creamy white beans and sliced lemon to cut through the fattiness of the lamb and brighten the flavours. Serve with a bowl of fluffy mash or couscous tossed with currants and toasted almonds.

Instant Pot is available at all @Home stores and online at Yuppiechef, priced from R1,999.

North African lamb knuckle Bredie

North African lamb knuckle BredieNorth African lamb knuckle BredieNorth African lamb knuckle Bredie


North African lamb knuckle Bredie

Serves 6-8

  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 1.4 kg free range lamb knuckles, at room temperature
  • 2 red onions, sliced into half moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) freshly grated ginger
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) cumin seeds
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) ground coriander
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) garam masala
  • 2.5ml (½ teaspoon) dried red chilli flakes
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) tomato paste
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) honey
  • 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) corn flour mixed with 30ml cold water
  • 1 x 400g tin white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds, seeds removed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Season the lamb on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté function. Heat 1 tablespoon oil until hot, then brown the meat on both sides. I do this in batches to ensure the meat develops good caramelization. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  3. Keeping the Instant Pot on Sauté function, add another tablespoon olive oil along with the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add all the dry spices, including the chilli flakes and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, honey and stock. Return the meat to the pot and submerge in the sauce. Cover with the lid on and lock into place. Select the pressure cook function and set the timer to 45 minutes. Use the natural slow pressure release method for 10 minutes. Turn the pressure vent towards you to release the remaining steam.
  5. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and place in a bowl. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté function and reduce the sauce for 15 minutes. Add the corn-flour slurry and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the beans and meat to the sauce and heat through. Place the lemon slices in the sauce.
  7. Serve the bredie with buttery mashed potato or couscous.


This post was proudly sponsored by Instant Pot. As always, opinions and comments are my own and based on personal findings. 


If you’re still after a leg of lamb roast, this one will do very nicely, too.

Roast leg of lamb with sweet onion marmalade



12 Comments. Leave new

  • Michelle Abrahamse
    15 April 2019 10:40 am

    lovely recipe thank you! Im new to instant pot / pressure cooker. Would love to see some more pressure cooker recipes!

  • Dianne Bibby
    15 April 2019 11:24 am

    My pleasure. It’s a real win to have in the kitchen Michelle, especially when you’re after the tenderness of a slow cook but don’t have time. There’s another recipe coming to the blog soon so keep an eye out for it.

  • Thanks Dianne been waiting for Instant pot recipes…

  • Dianne Bibby
    15 April 2019 2:34 pm

    This one’s a keeper. With winter just around the corner, there’ll be plenty more casseroles and stews coming your way. I hope they’ll become new favourites at your table.

  • Thora zietsman
    20 April 2019 2:29 pm

    Looks so inviting, just the kind is recipe I need.

  • Dianne Bibby
    21 April 2019 7:45 am

    Thank you Thora. Having a couple of ‘faithfuls’ in your back pocket is always helpful. This is one of them. When I’m having guests for dinner or need a dish that can take care of itself, this is the kind of recipe I turn to. I hope it becomes one of yours too.

  • I just opened the blog to jot down the ingredients for this recipe again. This recipe has become a firm favourite of mine and regularly features in my home these days. I am making this for my in-laws tonight with some bulgur wheat and crusty bread. Definitely a keeper! Thank you!

  • Hello Rose. It sounds like there’ll be a feast at your table tonight. Thank you for popping in to let me know. I so love hearing what everyone’s making.
    There’s a similar North African lamb pie with a parmesan pastry crust in my new Cookbook. I think you might love that one too. Hope your in-laws mop up the sauce with that crusty bread!

  • I made this last night with just a minor change from white beans to chick pea as that’s what I had. It was truly delicious, full of flavour, and so quick to make with an instant pot. I am looking forward to making more of your recipes!

  • Dianne Bibby
    18 June 2021 7:44 am

    Hi Yuri. Aren’t chickpeas just the handiest Pantry Staple? So happy to hear you loved the flavours. I hope you find plenty more recipes that will become favourites at your table.

  • Hi Dianne
    How do I adapt the method for the north african jknuckle stew if not using an instant pot.
    many thanks – love your recipes

  • Dianne Bibby
    10 April 2024 5:10 pm

    Hello Sharon. I do apologize for the lengthy delay! Launching the cookbook has been the busiest time. For a traditional slow cook, you can choose stove top or oven – 180 C for the oven temp and cook for about 3-3 1/2 hours. Same for the stove top, at medium heat. Just keep checking if there’s enough liquid, especially for the stove top option. Then just top up with a little water, if needed. Hope that helps. D x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.