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Cook: 4 hours | Servings: 8 - 10


A potjiekos is a traditional South African stew, slow-cooked in a cast-iron pot over an open fire. This one combines the richness of oxtails and red wine to provide a delicious, hearty one-pot meal.

  • 500 g fresh oxtail (get your butcher to slice them into pieces in between the bones)
  • 10 slices of bacon, cut into 2½ cm pieces
  • ½ cup cake flour, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 115 g tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 4 large leeks, chopped coarsely
  • 2 large onions, chopped coarsely
  • 6 large carrots, 2 chopped coarsely and 4 of the carrots diced finely
  • 20 button mushrooms, quartered
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons crushed garlic

Wipe the oxtail dry with a paper towel.
Put seasoned flour in a re-sealable plastic bag, then add the oxtail and shake to coat with flour.
Heat the butter and olive oil in the potjie (either over coals or gas) and sauté bacon pieces.
Remove bacon, add the oxtail to the pot and brown in the bacon fat. When each piece is browned all over, remove and drain on paper towels while keeping warm.
Add the 4 finely diced carrots to the pot together with the chopped onions and the leeks, and sauté until softened.
Return the oxtail and bacon to the pot and add the bouquet garni, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, tomato sauce, beef stock and red wine.
Bring slowly to the boil (if you got this far on the gas, then now is the time to transfer it to the coals). Cover tightly with a lid and allow to cook undisturbed for four hours.
One hour before serving, add the remaining carrots and mushrooms and continue cooking slowly, without stirring.
If you want a thicker sauce, stir in some corn starch mixed with cold water just before serving over rice or polenta (or mieliepap).

Recipe placed by Magtel Janse van Vuuren
Photo: Adam Cloete


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