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The Gearzette


- November 09, 2017

The food in the picture looks delicious. You have an urge to cook this on your next camp outing. But if you're not a South African, you're probably scratching your head. What the heck is a Potjie?

Outside of South Africa a Potjie is known as a "Dutch Oven". It's a 3 legged cast iron pot with origins in the Netherlands. Back in the day, the Voortrekkers (Pioneers of Dutch descent from the Cape Colony) used this pot to make food along their journey while “trekking” from the Cape Colony toward what is now known as South Africa. Each day when these folk stopped to rest, they hunted for wild game. The catch was then added to the pot and left to simmer over an open fire, packed up after the meal and taken along with them in the pot.

Potjiekos (Poy-Key-Kos), literally meaning "small pot food", is a traditionally South African way of cooking that has evolved into a delicious and social way of making hearty stew around an open fire with friends and family.

Potjiekos traditionally includes meat (whatever is readily available), vegetables like cabbage, carrots, pumpkin or cauliflower and starches like rice or potatoes, all left to slow-cook in Dutch-Malay spices. These days though, anything goes, from Potjie Chips (Fries) to Biltong Potjie.

This will be the first of many Potjie recipes we're going to share with you. If you have any favorites you'd like to share with us, we're all ears (and open mouths). Ok. On with the show. Here's how you make an Oxtail Cocktail Potjie.

You'll need:

  •  1.5kg Oxtail
  • 2 Large Brown Onions (Diced)
  • 1 Packet of Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Ginger
  • 1 Punnet Patty Pans
  • 1 Punnet Baby Squash
  • 1 Punnet Baby Marrows
  • 12 Baby Potatoes
  • 4 Sweetcorn Cobs (Halved)
  • 5 Carrots (Sliced into Rounds)
  • 750ml Red Wine
  • 500ml Warm Water
  • Fresh Thyme/Coriander
  • 4 Curry Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 6 Whole Cloves
  • Ground Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Beef Stock Block
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Oxtail Pre-preparation:

Marinate the Oxtail in 500ml of Red Wine for 3 hours

along with the Crushed Garlic, Crushed Ginger and

Whole Cloves.


Cooking time: 3 hours

Heat Olive Oil in the potjie. Add the Brown Onions and Curry Powder

to the Olive Oil and fry until translucent. Strain the Oxtail from the

Wine Marinade and Brown the meat. Add the Marinade and let

simmer for 10 minutes. Layer the Carrots and Baby Potatoes over

the Oxtail and crumble the block of Beef Stock over it. Stick the

Curry leaves in-between the ingredients randomly and season with

Ground Salt & Pepper. Top up with the remaining 250ml Red Wine

and let the potjie cook with the lid closed until the meat is tender.

Layer the Cherry Tomatoes, Patty Pans, Baby Squash, Baby Marrow

and Sweet Corn Cobs. Add 500ml of Warm Water then cover with lid

and let simmer gently until Vegetables are cooked through.

Remember not to stir the pot. The Layers of ingredients is what

makes a potjie steam it's contents to perfection. Enjoy your hearty

Oxtail Cocktail potjie with steamed brown rice or seasoned potato