Many Rwandan homesteads have their own potager, a French term meaning home kitchen garden. It exists to supply the household with food, from annual and perennial fruit and vegetables to culinary herbs.
Thanks to the country’s volcanic-rich soil, alongside customary habits, Rwanda is famous for farming excellent fresh produce. At Bisate, we are no strangers to these traditions and our produce is mainly foraged from our very own potager, as well as from local farmers within a five kilometre radius of the lodge – advocating not only for the health of the planet, but that of the local economy. Thus we boast a true indigenous farm-to-table experience that contributes to the success of the community, and keeps the environmental footprint light.
Our cuisine at Bisate is a creative combination of local and traditional Rwandan flavours infused with influences of modern-day cooking. Our chefs use only the freshest ingredients, meaning that the menu evolves with the seasons and according to what nature allows us to harvest.
Situated at an altitude of 2 600 metres above sea level, with an average rainfall of 1 400 mm per annum, temperatures are almost 10° C lower than in the capital Kigali. This calls for slow-cooked, hearty and wholesome dishes – such as Rwandan Bean and Rosemary Soup – always appreciated by our guests to support their long high-altitude treks through the rainforest in search of the area’s iconic mountain gorillas.
This scrumptious soup is made with Rwandan climbing beans – a colourful legume cultivated all over the country. Paired with locally-farmed thick-cut beef and fresh vegetables from our Bisate garden and you have a hearty meal.
12 oz (300 g) thick-cut beef shin dash salt and milled pepper 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, plus extra for serving 1 large onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3.5 oz (100 g) streaky bacon, diced 14 oz (400 g) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed 1 tsp (5 ml) sugar 5 rosemary leaves, chopped 1 tsp (5 ml) thyme leaves 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock 14 oz (400 g) Rwandan beans* 2 cups (500 ml) baby spinach 1 cup (250 ml) white cabbage, shredded
1 small garlic clove pinch of sea salt 1 oz (25 g) pine nuts, very lightly toasted 2 oz (50 g) wild rocket 1 oz (25 g) Parmesan, finely grated juice of ½ lemon ½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1. Season the meat and brown in oil. Add onions, garlic and bacon and sauté until soft and fragrant. 2. Add tomatoes, sugar, rosemary, thyme and stock and simmer gently for 2 hours or until meat is tender (you may have to add a little more water as you go).
Tip: Make the pesto during this time.
3. Finally add in the beans, spinach and cabbage and cook for 10-15 minutes more. Season well and serve topped with lashings of good olive oil and parmesan and some rocket pesto*.
1. Put the garlic and salt into the bowl of a small food processor and pulse. 2. Add the pine nuts and pulse until roughly chopped (be careful not to over-process). Add the rocket and pulse carefully until it is well mixed, but still very textured. 3. Turn into a bowl and stir through the Parmesan and lemon juice. Pour in the olive oil and mix well until you have a juicy paste, seasoning to taste as you go
*Tip: Rwandan beans can be replaced with white beans or kidney beans, canned or pre-cooked. Serves: 6-8
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