Sunday, October 13, 2013

Peppery beef, oxtail and onion potjie

This recipe combines some of the most delicious ingredients you can put into a potjie and is a winner when you're cooking comfort food.


1 kg potjie beef
1 kg oxtail

1 medium turnip
1 medium potatoe
1 large carrot
2 handfuls of celery leaf
1 handful of parsely
2 large white onions
1 medium leek
1 medium tomato
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup black lentils

5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp course sea salt
Olive oil


5 hours


Cut the onions into thin rings and caramelise them in the pot using a little oil.  This takes about 30 minutes and should be done until the onions are dark brown, sweet and translucent.

Try to resist eating the onions, take them out the pot and keep them for later.  While the onions are cooking spend some time peeling the potato, carrot and turnip and then chop all the vegetables like you owe them some sort of vengeance.

Next, heat up some olive oil in the pot and brown the oxtail and beef chunks. Add the thyme in while you're doing this.

When the meat is browned mix in the caramelised onions and chopped garlic and make sure the onions are evenly mixed with the meat in the pot.

Sprinkle the pepper and salt over the top and then cover the meat with the lentils, potato, carrot, turnip and leek.  If you are using dried lentils make sure you rinse them thoroughly by running water through them.  Ignore this at your peril.

Next up add the tomato and cover with the leaves.  This should fill the pot up like it has in the photo below.  During this time while you're packing stuff in the pot keep the heat on medium.  

Once the leaves are in, pour in enough hot water to cover the meat, so if you part the leaves you'll see liquid down there on the level of the meat.  You can't skip this step because the lentils absorb a lot of water and the pot will burn if you don't.  You also need gravy because the next day you're going to be using the left-overs for a pie.   

Close up the pot and let it simmer gently for four hours, checking in every hour to make sure things aren't going pear-shaped.  When its done the meat should be ridiculously tender (that's the party trick for this dish, other than the insane flavour) and the potatoes should be disintegrated.

Serve it with rice or fresh bread and enjoy.  If you want to know what to do with the leftovers, here is a walk-through for making a pie.

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