{Botswana Recipe} Thyme Oil–Seared Beef with Pommes Paddazza

by Sandy Salle on July 11, 2013

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Image above from Ngoma Safari Lodge, featuring their Thyme Oil-Seared Beef Fillet with Pommes Paddazza

An exotic locale where reality takes a back seat to unimaginable visions and experiences, Botswana is one of the most beautiful countries to go on an African safari vacation. From the minuscule dragonflies to the boisterous lions, there is something magical in every element of Botswana’s intricate wildlife. Botswana is home to the celebrated Okavango Delta, a pulsing oasis nestled within the sprawling Kalahari Desert. Travelers can enjoy mokoro (canoe) safaris through the crystal blue lagoons, observe elephants, or search for endemic bird species.

But what many travelers on a trip to Botswana don’t realize right from the get-go is that Botswana is also celebrated for serving up some of the best cuisine on the continent.

At all of the higher end accommodations in Botswana, meals are served family-style and each dish is truly divine. It’s amazing how they mange to serve restaurant-quality meals in the bush, but they do!

Below is one of my favorite recipes taken from the Hills of Africa Travel recipe book, a Taste of Africa (which features over 60 authentic African recipes from some of our favorite accommodations in southern and eastern Africa). The recipe was given to us by Ngoma Safari Lodge, which is a spectacular property located within the wildlife-lush Chobe Forest Reserve.

Thyme oil–seared beef fillet with pommes paddazza, buttered green-pea puree, and balsamic jus de bouef

Sidenote: If you love steak and are always looking to try new rubs and flavors, then this is the recipe for you! I use this recipe often when cooking steaks, because thyme is one of my favorite herbs and brings out the rich flavors of the steak. Simply delicious.

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon butter for frozen peas
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/4 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter for balsamic jus
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 20 ounces beef fillet steak
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Boil the frozen peas, drain, and mash in a food processor. Add butter and season well with salt and pepper.

Cut the potatoes into thick discs, toss them with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt and freshly crushed black pepper, and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 45–60 minutes.

In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce beef stock by three-quarters, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and finish with balsamic vinegar.

Season the steak with salt and pepper, olive oil, and chopped thyme. Char-grill the steak in a frying pan for 2–3 minutes on each side and serve with the potatoes, jus, and green-pea puree.

More about Ngoma:

As one of my favorite properties in the Chobe area of Botswana, Ngoma is not only celebrated for its beautiful accommodations, but also for its exceptional cuisine. Each of the Ngoma Safari Lodge’s suites overlooks the wildlife-rich bush and Chobe River, making each day new and exciting! It’s impossible not to feel like royalty here. Expect to see lots of elephants from June through October.

For more AMAZING African recipes from our favorite high-end accommodations, purchase our recipe book, a Taste of Africa.



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