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What’s cooking today: Cheesy samp & beans bake



What’s cooking today: Cheesy samp & beans bake

Cheesy samp and beans bake, compliments of Tony Jackman and his cowboy tjommie. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Samp and beans were transformed into a proper cowboy dish this weekend down on the farm. It can be a filling supper in its own right, or a side dish for a winter braai.

It’s best to start this the night before you need to cook it, to soften the samp and beans.

(Serves 4 as a main meal, more as a side dish)


350 g samp

150 g dried sugar beans

6-8 rashers of streaky bacon, diced

2 medium onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 Tbsp butter

1 ½ cups sweetcorn kernels (frozen is fine)

100 g roasted and salted peanuts (just buy a packet of the commercial variety)

850 ml cheese sauce

Grated Cheddar, Parmesan and breadcrumbs for the topping

1 Tbsp picked thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme

½ tsp Cayenne pepper

Salt and white pepper to taste


For the cheese sauce: 

4 Tbsp butter

2 heaped Tbsp flour

600 ml full cream milk

250 g grated Cheddar cheese


1 bay leaf


Pour the samp and beans into a large bowl and pour water over to cover. Leave them to soak overnight, or at least for five or six hours.

Drain and pour fresh water in to cover, bring to a boil and cook for an hour. Pour into a large colander to drain again while you prepare the other ingredients for the bake.

Make a cheese sauce: don’t worry about the exact quantity, just make plenty.

For the béchamel, heat the milk with a bay leaf and a little salt until it is about to boil, then turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour off the heat until it is smooth, to make a roux. On a low heat, add the heated milk a little at a time to the roux, while stirring. Cook gently, stirring all the while, for about 15 minutes, then stir in the grated cheese. Keep aside.

Dice the bacon and cook in a lightly oiled pan until crisp on all sides.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large pan big enough to hold all the onions and the drained samp and other ingredients. Add the chopped onions and garlic. Sauté on a medium heat, stirring, until the onions soften. Add the thyme leaves and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked bacon and sweetcorn kernels and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring (the sweetcorn will continue cooking while it bakes later). Stir in the peanuts, and season to taste with salt and pepper and a little Cayenne pepper.

Pour the cheese sauce in, stir well, then pour it all into a greased oven dish. Sprinkle lots of grated Cheddar over the top, then breadcrumbs, then Parmesan, and bake in a preheated 200℃ oven for about half an hour or until the top is nicely browned. DM/TGIFood 

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected] 

SUBSCRIBE: Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.


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