Last week, I gave some good guidelines to start with when building your own Potjie, called Potjiekos from the Heart. Some things are better than a recipe and I love using some tried and true techniques in order to build new flavors and savor the well-loved flavors of my family. This is one combination that I recently built that worked really well, so I wanted to share it here.
Short ribs with bone-in (2.5-3 lbs)
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Garlic Blend of spices
BBQ Blend of spices
1/2-1 cup Tomato Puree
4 pitted and chopped Dates
250 mL broth
1/2 cup Red Wine
Potatoes – baby or chopped up into cubes
Add some olive oil into the bottom of your Potjie to braise your short ribs. Turn the ribs to braise each side and then remove from the Potjie while you start your base.
Add a little more olive oil if needed and start cooking your onion and garlic until soft. Add in spices and cook until fragrant. Then add in the tomato puree and replace your meat back into the Potjie. Here I added 4 chopped dates to cut some of the acidity of the tomato. I also added 250 mL Broth. I cooked for 40 minutes with the lid on and then checked it, adding in 1/2 cup of red wine along with the cut potatoes and baby carrots. I replaced the lid and checked it again after 30 minutes, adding in the snow peas and cooked them until soft.
The result was delicious and something we ate with some white rice.
If you want to cook this in your oven, you can do that with a Dutch Oven and set the oven to 375*F.
Next we, will move all the way north to another African country- Egypt! Until then, keep cooking in Cast Iron! <3 Kate
Potjiekos is Afrikaans for small pot food. It’s cooked outdoors in a Potjie, a descendent of the Dutch Oven. I shared a little about the small pot last year in a Potjie Spirit Week post.
For our Cast Iron Journey this year, I wanted to find a good Potjiekos recipe to share, but I have to tell you a little secret… Potjiekos is cooked from the heart, and after trying a few “recipes” I was convinced that it’s just not the way to go. The beauty of a potjie is that there are a few guidelines to know and you grow from there. So here are some things I’ve learned about producing flavor in the small pot.
Bone-in is a plus when it comes to choosing your meat
Braising your meat first will only be a benefit to you later
After you braise your meat, take it out and start your onions and garlic. Once they are soft add in your spices to simmer together. Choose spices that offer a depth of flavor- some of our favorites are Smoked Paprika, Cumin, a favorite BBQ or Garlic blend, along with some good herbs, Oregano, Basil, and Salt and Pepper etc.
Once those spices are getting nice and fragrant build your stock with some tomato puree or sauce and some broth. You don’t want to add too much moisture because you will be cooking with the lid on and you don’t want to lose your flavor. You can always add more liquid during the cooking process. I know a lot of recipes that call for water, but I prefer broth every time.
Add your meat back in and let it cook. Last time, I added some chopped dates into this part to help add in a little bit of sweetness to take out the acidity of the tomato and it worked like a charm. I also added some red wine to my base stock.
After your meat has been cooking for awhile, then you can think about adding your harder veg like baby or squared potatoes, carrots, and root veg.
Your last addition will be your soft veg. Things like marrow or zucchini, peas or green beans.
During the adding stages, don’t over-stir your potjiekos- you’ll end up with mashed veg.
As my sister said this past week, “Let your dreams be your wings.” Take some time to think of what you like and build a recipe. Next week, I’ll give you the one that we have loved the most, but always remember, your taste buds and experience cooking your own food the way that you like it can be the greatest help in building a potjie from the heart.
Until next time, keep cooking in Cast Iron! <3 Kate
For more about our Cast Iron Journey and to find our Kitchen Tallow, make a stop here!
What’s in store for the next few weeks on the journey? Why not try some Uum Ali cooked in Cast Iron for a stop over in Egypt.
Last week I spent some time testing recipes for our first leg of the Cast Iron Journey this year. This one was definitely a winner. With soft bread, first buttered with a mixture of cinnamon-sugar butter, layered into the pot, covered with a coconut milk custard and drizzled with rum soaked raisins. This is definitely one that will be enjoyed again by our family.
I found this delicious recipe from Jan Braai. Every year on September 24, many celebrate National Braai Day, uniting together over the fire. I love anything that brings people from diverse backgrounds together in a common interest, so you know I’ll share some posts about this one later in the year. His delicious recipe can be found here on his website and he gives step by step instructions about how to make this Rum Raisin pudding over a fire. I have some directions below for making it in the oven when you don’t have a fire to use.
I used my Dutch Oven to make this delicious dessert in our oven following the directions for the Potjie recipe. To bake, I set my oven to 350 F and baked the pudding in the middle of my oven with the lid on top for 45 minutes until the custard was set and everything was baked through. Then I removed the lid and broiled on low for about 5 minutes watching that it didn’t burn. (Every oven’s broiler is different and mine is electric so be careful here.)
We were hoping to make this Potjiekos over the campfire last week, but our camping trip was cut short due to weather. Instead of calling the whole thing off, we decided to make our Potjie on the stove in our Cast Iron Dutch Oven and I am so glad we did. It was absolutely delicious and helped our wounded hearts heal after not being able to camp out with my parents. So here is a delicious recipe that I will share now, and plan on showing you how to make it in a Potjie later!
Important Potjie Tips:
You want to make sure that there is enough liquid in your potjie so that things don’t burn as you are cooking your Potjiekos.
This is important because we don’t stir the food once it’s in there and cooking. The only thing we stirred as we cooked were the first things we put in: the onions, ginger, and garlic.
It’s important to add enough salt and pepper. This is the tricky thing that you learn after cooking Potjiekos a few times. Tasting at the end as you add your vegetables is a good way to check if you need to add more salt and pepper.
This will take a little over 2 hours to cook, so you want to prep and cook, managing your time well.
1 Kg Lamb (we used long shoulder cuts)
2 Onions, chopped
Vegetables to add: potatoes, carrots, zucchini, green beans, mushrooms- the possibilities are endless
2 Tbsp Ginger Paste
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Red Wine or Broth
2 -14.5 oz cans of Diced Tomatoes
2-3 Bay Leaves
A sprinkle of Passion
Cover the bottom of your Dutch Oven with oil as you warm it up over med-high heat on the stove top.
Add in 2 chopped onions to cook until they are softened.
Once softened, add 2 Tbsp of ginger paste and 2 Tbsp of minced garlic. Stir it together after adding.
Place 1 Kg of Lamb in the Dutch Oven to brown on both sides.
Season with salt and pepper. We added 1/2 cup of red wine here as well.
Add in 2 cans of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each) and a couple of bay leaves. Turn down the heat to simmer for 1 hour with the lid on top.
Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot and cook for another 40 minutes. After that you can add softer vegetables like green beans and zucchini/marrow. We added mushrooms and some more salt and pepper. Replace the lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve over some rice and enjoy! Everyone in the family gobbled this up!
You can find our favorite way to season and maintain your Cast Iron here: Kitchen Tallow.
Until next time, keep cooking in Cast Iron! <3 Kate
Something that I just made up…. haha, but I wanted to invite you all to learn a little more about the traditional South African potjie. Pronounced “Poi-kee”
Potjiekos is literally translated “small-pot food” from Afrikaans and is a traditional way of cooking outdoors for Afrikaners. The potjie is a descendant of the Dutch oven which traveled from the Netherlands to South Africa in the 17th century. Now it is found throughout much of Southern Africa, in the hearths of all its diverse people groups.
The other day we were treated to food from a potjie that was seasoned with Oarsman Marine Kitchen Tallow the day before and the potjiekos was delicious! It was a lamb and vegetable small-pot food! Find more about our Kitchen Tallow.
Why is it Potjie Spirit Week in my mind? Because this week we are going camping and bringing along our Potjie. We are going to enjoy some potjiekos around our campfire and we can’t wait. I’ll be posting more of our cooking adventures from camping soon so stay tuned!
Our highlights from Week 3 of our Cast Iron Journey:
We shared 2 Clafoutis recipes. One Gluten-full clafoutis made as a brunch dish with cranberry orange in the flavoring. And one Gluten-free clafoutis made with berries- definitely much sweeter and perfect for dessert. You can find those recipes in our group here:
We have people joining us from all over the world, so please join in the fun! We also had some more recipe adaptations inspired by recipes or ideas shared from previous weeks which was fun to watch. With Beef Pot Pie and Tamale Pie being invented and reinvented. And we gathered Corn Bread Skillet recipes, asking everyone to share their favorite.
We were inspired by this pic and while that is an attainable goal and centerpiece, I can recommend another easy storage solution which is pictured beside the Pinterest worthy idea. I got this one on Amazon a few weeks ago, a five tier storage stand!
And when it’s safe to do so, we would love to treat everybody in the world to a traditional over-the-fire potjie at our place because it is an amazing time of fellowship and great food! I can’t wait for the Spring, when we can start sharing more outdoor cast-iron experiences and recipes with one another.
Some of our Instagram activity as well for you to see:
An easy beef pot pie throw it together dish & an awesome thrift store find- cast-iron muffin pan!
I’ll sign off for now, but if you’re new to this…. You can start here: How to Join In. Join our Facebook group and follow us on Instagram @connorsrdcollective.etsy