Although typically South African, potjiekos is thought to have originated in Europe during the 80 Year War” (1568 to 1648) when a shortage of food during the siege of Leiden, forced the inhabitants to cook almost anything they could lay their hands on in a community pot. The South African pioneers, adopted this method of cooking because it was convenient as it suited their lifestyle of hunting and traveling/trekking. Traditionally a three-legged cast-iron pot or potjie, is used.
Remember that making potjiekos is a social event and that cooking time could be between 3 to 6 hours, thus requiring much patience and tolerance. Set aside a whole afternoon or evening for this type of meal.
This recipe serves 12 people
- 3,5 kg Oxtail
- 12, 5 ml flour
- 60 ml olive oil
- 6 onions, sliced
- 5 fresh bay leaves
- 8 fresh sprigs of thyme
- 4 cloves crushed garlic
- 500 ml red wine
- 500 ml beef stock
- 250 ml chicken stock
- 150 ml orange juice
- zest of 4 oranges
- 2 x 410 g whole peeled tomatoes
- ½ cup sugar (or to taste-as wine and tomatoes tart)
- 1 x 400 g butter beans
- 1 x 400 g red kidney beans
- 1 x 400 g borlotti beans
- Salt, ground pepper and paprika to taste
- 8 medium carrots, sliced
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 500 g frozen peas
1. Trim the excess off the oxtail. Season the flour and spices and role the oxtail in the mixture and set aside.
2. Heat oil in the potjie and brown the pieces on both sides in batches and then set aside once more. Add a little more olive oil to the potjie and sauté the onion, bay leaves, thyme and garlic for 5 mins
3. Add the red wine, stock, orange juice and rind and the tinned tomatoes and sugar and season well.
4. The meat must be covered completely with the liquid.
5. Place the lid on the potjie and leave to simmer gently for a total of 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is very tender and almost falls off the bones.
6. Halfway through the cook add the carrots and celery.
7. Add the tinned beans 10 minutes before ready to serve.
8. Blanch the peas and also add to the potjie about 10 minutes before serving or serve the peas separately.
9. Serve on a bed of rice or mashed potatoes, sprinkled with finely chopped parsley.
If you don’t have a potjie pot substitute with a heavy cast iron pot on the stove