Traditional Cooking at it’s best
Surprise and impress your guests by cooking a Potjiekos when they are expecting to be wined and dined by a bar-b-que, as has been tradition in ‘outdoor’ entertaining at your home.
Potjie, in English, means Pot and Kos is Afrikaans for Food. So, this ‘Pot of Food’ is prepared in a cast iron pot that has three-legs to sit evenly over burning coals. The round potbellied pot has a history going back to the 17th century.
Potjiekos requires long, slow cooking over LOW heat, so keep the fire small. Add coals from a second fire from time to time to keep a constant temperature under the pot.
The beauty of potjiekos is that it can be left to cook on it’s own, in fact, it is better left to cook on it’s own.
Heat a mixture of oil and butter (butter gives additional flavor) in a Potjie Pot over moderate coals. Cut the meat, chicken or fish into reasonably sized portions and brown in the hot oil.
Remove some of the coals from under the pot and pour in some heated liquid ie; stock, and cover the pot tightly and allow the meat to simmer for an hour or two.
Half an hour or so before the end of the cooking time add the vegetables in LAYERS. Those that take the longest to cook such as carrots and potatoes, add first.
You don’t need to add much more liquid as the tightly fitted lid traps the steam and the food cooks in it’s own juices.
If you like a thicker sauce, add one potato at the beginning of the cooking time so that it cooks to a pulp.
Stir only at the beginning when the meat has been browned – and then leave well alone!
Meat potjiekos takes about 2-3hours to cook while fish takes about one hour.
Finally to appreciate the potjiekos flavor, keep the side dishes simple-rice and wholewheat bread and a crisp salad.
Meat cuts that are not usually associated with bar-b-queing are ideal for potjiekos-the less tender cuts that are full of flavor such as neck, chuck, flat rib, brisket and shin or beef. Also, use shank and flank of lamb and breast of pork.
As a delicacy, use oxtail, mutton or venison all giving a unique flavor to a potjie, all of which are considered too tough to be bar-b-qued. These meats become beautifully tender in a long cooking process.
HINT – Dumplings can be added to any potjiekos recipe.
THE FIRE - Wood or charcoal both make a good fire, both giving the same results.
TIP - Add a little red wine to a potjie recipe to enhance the flavor.
TIP – Keep the liquid below the level of the vegetables.
STIRING – Stir ONCE before serving just to ensure an even mix of vegetables and meat.
The recipes you can try are as long as your imagination. Therefore I will not submit any as you can have a whole lot of fun with this yourself. I will however, submit a few ideas to get you started.
Beef & Beer
Beef & Vegetables
Lamb & Butternut
The preparation time will create a warm and friendly atmosphere, it never fails!
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