Potjie – what in the beef stocks is that and what is with that big black witch pot?

Potjie – a word most of us have not really heard before!  Well unless you are from or live in South Africa that is.  An old traditional BBQ (braai as it is called over there) this stew dish is cooked in a cast iron pot much resembling a witches caldron over a roaring wood fire and is simply delicious.

Pronounced – poy (like toy with a P) – key (poykey) can be cooked with many different types of meats and or vegetables giving a different twist not only to the BBQ but to the winter family favorite – the stew!

Served with rice or home-made cornbread it is simply delicious, stew as you have not tasted it before.

Lamb Potjie Recipe – Serves 6

What you will need:

1 x Cast Iron Pot

Wood and items for the fire

Olive Oil

2 x Medium Onions peeled and chopped

4 x Cloves of fresh Garlic peeled and chopped

1.5 kg of Lamb Knuckles

9 cups of beef or lamb stock

6 x medium washed and peeled potatoes cut into halves

2 x 500g packets of frozen mixed vegetables or fresh vegetable of your choice

375 ml white / brown / wild rice

Image credit My Easy Cooking


Heat 1 and a half tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron pot over medium to hot coals

Add the onions and garlic to the oil, stir until they are coated in the oil then place the lid on the pot for 5 minutes.  Take the lid off after 5 minutes stir and repeat until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent but not too brown.

Remove the onions and garlic to set them aside

Add a bit more oil and then add the meat to brown it

Add cooked onions and garlic back into the pot and stir together with the meat

Slowly stir in the stock, cover with the lid and let it simmer for 1 hour.  Stirring on occasion and checking to see if it needs a bit more liquid if it has started to look a bit dry.

After an hour add the halved potatoes and cook for 1 -2 hours or until the meat is tender remember to keep adding liquid if it becomes a bit dry.

Once the meat is tender add the vegetables and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables and potatoes are cooked as desired.

While the vegetables are being cooked into the potjie it is a good time to start cooking your rice or cornbread to go with your delicious meat potjie.

Some of the South African favorite side dishes served with this are:

Crispy cheesy garlic French loaf

Green salad or warm bean salad