!Nabas or Kalahari-truffles is a quintessential Namibian ingredient from the eastern, Kalahari-part of the country which is where the inspiration for this Chicken and Kalahari-truffle pie comes from. They are only available during April and May after good rains. Here they are used as part of a filling for a pie. Pies do not have to be dull and boring. They can be modern and fun, just like this Chicken and Kalahari-truffle pie.
Every year during !naba season – April and May provided the eastern half of the country had enough rain – Namibians scramble to obtain these delicacies. Those with close ties to farmers have the best prospects as kalahari-truffles are not widely available in the supermarkets.
Kalahari-truffles do not have the same intense flavour as their European counterparts, but they are quite versatile. Most people would pan-fry them with butter and serve them on toast or scrambled eggs perhaps.
Chicken and Kalahari-truffle pieCourse: MainCuisine: NamibianDifficulty: Medium
Kalahari-truffles or !Nabas is a very seasonal, much loved traditional ingredient in Namibia. It can be eaten raw or cooked and makes for a delicious chicken pie.
3 chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 leeks, white part only – sliced finely
200 grams !nabas (Kalahari Truffles)
250 millilitres chicken stock
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt (to taste)
cracked black pepper (to taste)
6 whole cloves
5 whole allspice berries
1 pack shortcrust pastry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Add the oil to a frying pan and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced onion and sliced leeks. Cook whilst stirring until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Then add the chicken, spices and herbs and fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to brown. Add the !nabas and cook for about four to five minutes. Add the stock and cook until the chicken is just done.
- At this point, you can thicken the sauce by adding a tablespoon of cornstarch to three tablespoons of water to make a paste. Add this to the chicken and cook until the sauce is the required thickness. Remove the filling from the heat and set aside to cool. Allow the filling to cool to room temperature at least, or put it in the refrigerator if you are not going to make the pie immediately.
- If you are using frozen pastry dough, allow the dough to defrost completely. If needed work on a floured surface and roll out the dough to fit your pie dish. Add the filling and a pie bird to the dish, then drape over the pastry dough. Secure the edges and make sure the pie bird fits through a cross-cut in the middle of the dough.
- Make a quick egg wash by adding one whole egg to a tablespoon of water. Brush the dough with the egg wash and add to an oven preheated to 190℃. Cook until the pie crust is golden (about 25 to 30 minutes). Serve immediately.