When you think of traditional South African foods, a couple seems to put up their hands. But the two that must be right up there in the top three or four must be braaivleis (barbecued meat) and potjiekos (stew made in a cast iron pot on the coals as well). Now I'm not the world's best cook, not by a long shot. My ranking would probably be somewhere in the top 500 million, but I would be able to help myself if my life depended on it. While on our holiday camping trip, I decided to make potjie for Christmas lunch.
- The fire gets lit and when there are sufficient coals, the black three leg cast iron pot gets put on it.
- Put in some olive oil. Just a bit. Not too much. Just enough. (Get the idea?)
- We decided on a chicken potjie and had about 4 drumsticks, 4 wings and 4 pieces of white meat. Put in the pieces and just do a quick fry on both sides of each so that it gets a bit of colour, then take out.
- Put in one onion (sliced into rings) and fry till light brown
- Put chicken on top of onions
- Add baby potatoes, slices carrots, pieces of butternut, mushrooms and peas (or any other vegetables your heart desires)
- Then I add my concoction, I mean sauce (can somebody explain to me how to do that typing thing with the line through?) It consist of a packet of spare rib marinade, some chutney, tomato sauce, tin of tomato puree, salt, pepper and water - can't remember what else we had, but at home I'll also add worcester sauce, sweet chili or whatever else you have in stock.
- Don't add more water. It makes it's own water. In this case the Damselfly added more water and the sauce didn't get thick enough.
- Now leave it to do its thing for two hours or so. Important: DON'T BOTHER THE POT SO DON'T STIR IT! UNDERSTAND? Trust me (and thousands before me) it won't burn and it will all be cooked.
- Towards the end you may want to take out some of the sauce to add corn flour to it to get the sauce thick. Don't forget to pour it back in after mixing the flour in.
Here is the end product. Don't criticise the presentation. It wasn't a food fancy dress party. It was just supposed to get our tummies full. The bread is beer bread. One 500mg self raising flour and a tin of beer. Mix well and stuff in three standard tins. Cover with foil and bake on the coals. The tins can be see in the first picture on the right hand side.
The Damselfly couldn't resist (ok, so I had to ask her) taking a picture of me with my new springbok horn pot opener in hand. I'm not really a hat guy, but the temperature came close to 40C (104F) that whole week and my receding hair is leaving my forehead a little exposed.
So that is the end of today's cooking lesson. LOL. Next time I'll do one on a braai (barbecue).