This traditional South African oxtail potjie is a staple in kitchens all around the country. If you’ve never had one before you will soon experience this culinary delight!
A potjie (pronounced ‘poy-key’) is a black, cast iron pot with three legs used to cook stews inside, over an open fire. The cooking techniques and culture surrounding the potjie are exclusive to South Africa. These dishes are so beloved that there are countless regional and national potjie competitions held each year.. These cooking events are very competitive and the contestants recipes are closely guarded.
The ingredients in a potjie can vary, but generally it includes a meat, slow cooked vegetables, wine or stock and seasonings. This easy oxtail potjie is perfect for a savory, robust lunch or dinner for the whole family! Serves 8-10 people.
10 slices of streaky bacon cut into pieces
½ cup flour
1 liter beef stock
250ml red wine
115g tomato paste
2 large onions, chopped
4 leeks, chopped
6 carrots, four diced and two chopped
20 button mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
With a paper towel, dab the oxtails dry.
Put flour in a plastic bag and add the oxtails. Shake to coat them with flour.
Heat the olive oil and butter in the potjie and then sauté the bacon pieces.
Once crispy remove the bacon, add oxtail to the potjie and brown in the bacon fat. When each oxtail portion is browned, remove and drain while still keeping warm.
Add the diced carrots to the pot along with the leeks and onions. Sauté until they are softened.
Return the oxtail and bacon to the potjie and add tomato sauce, red wine, beef stock, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and bouquet garni.
Bring to a boil slowly. Cover tightly with a lid and allow to cook for 4 hours. Leave alone without stirring.
Next add the mushrooms and remaining carrots and continue to cook for one hour.
For a thicker sauce, stir in a cornstarch paste before serving over rice or pap.
This hearty oxtail potjie meal is great for colder days or to share with your friends. Enjoy!
If you need some help cleaning up, here is how to clean your potjie and store.