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Information about South African Potjiekos

Speciality Dish - South Africa



Scroll down for traditional Potjiekos Recipes


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Potjiekos has been cooked in South African  at the time of  the very first settlement at the Cape.  It's basically a stew in which the meat and seasonings are cooked with very little liquid, with vegetables added in layers on top of the meat.


The key is to have a close fitting lid,  not to stir the stew after the initial browning of the meat and not to add too much liquid. There should only be just enough stock or wine to keep the meat from burning.


Traditionally, the ingredients for this dish are very simple: a piece of fatty meat which was rendered down and in which meat such as game, mutton or beef but especially the tougher cuts are browned, onions, seasonings such as herbs, wine or stock  and vegetables like potatoes or cabbage. It is set over an open fire, covered and simmered under tender.  Venison and game birds are also fantastic cooked in  potjies.


Today many South Africans have their "secret" ingredient which sets their potjiekos apart from all the others and this style of cooking has become so popular in certain areas that they even hold competitions to see who can make the best one.


The Pot


Mention must be made of the Potjie - a large cauldron like pot with a lid, made of cast iron which has three legs and a handle or chain. The Dutch cooked food over the kitchen fire in this black cast-iron pot, probably called "a pot" or the Dutch equivalent, which hung from a chain. It was at the point when it was moved outdoors and used over open fires it became known as The Potjie. 


Its design made it a must for the people in the cape who undertook the great  trek. Its versatility and sturdy nature meant that it could be transported without fear of damage and set up as, where and when necessary.


Whilst this dish lost favour in the everyday cuisine of the Afrikaners during the Victorian era,  the potjie made a come-back during the late 1970's and it is now possible to buy them today.


Below are a few Potjiekos recipes for you to try. Don't let the lack of a Potjie stop you from trying these recipes, so long as you have a heavy based saucepan with a close fitting lid you can recreate or even create a passable version. 

Happy Cooking!

Neck of Lamb Potjie    HT   MC   South African   180mins

Ostrich Potjie      HT   MC   South Africa   245mins

Venison Potjie     HT   MC   South African   260mins

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