Tips for the best Potjie

A potjiea wholesome meal that brings everyone together.

Potjies are a great way to feed a crowd, and stretch your rands. During lockdown, it can feed you and the family, or provide you with a few meals in the week. Not only can it be budget-friendly, but it can be a low-waste dish too. Make your stock using those celery leaves you never eat, keep the potato skins on. Add as many veggies as you can, this not only adds variety but bulks up your pot to feed more people (and requires less meat).

A potjie is known to be an art, and requires effort and time, so be ready for that – it’s well worth it!

Top 4 rules to remember: (to avoid getting a very average soup)

    1. Do not stir. Pack the potjie pot in layers. (Meat first, then veg above -from longest cooking time to the shortest.)
    2. Do not add too much liquid
    3. Do not overcook your vegetables
    4. Do not boil. A potjie is a slow cooking process, that’s the joy of it. Allow your potjie to slow cook and simmer, not boil. 

Other important tips:

  1. Brown your meat.
  2. Make sure that there are no coals under the lowest point of the potjie. Keep the heat just outside of the legs and the radiant heat will do the rest
  3. Pairings and Seasoning – make sure you have the right flavours in your potjie and don’t just add everything. Choose a protein and 2-4 vegetables to include. 
  4. For a spicy potjie – roast the spices prior to cooking to get those flavours. 
  5. When layering ingredients, the pot should only be two-thirds full to allow room for the steam.
  6. No wine? or not a drop to spare for the potjie this weekend? Try these alternatives:
    → Use a thicker stock with a dash of red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar, or even a bit of chutney!
    Simpl Juice   pomegranate & apple juice or grape juice
    Rugani Juice beetroot juice
    → De-alcoholized Red Wine

We asked our butchery and staff for some of their top tips, here are some new tricks to try:

  • Use a dash of Rugani 100% Carrot Juice for that added flavour and to pack in some nutrients
  • Use Coconut milk instead of cream for something different. 
  • “Dust your beef stew with a bit of cake flour before browning it” – Butchery Manager Platinum Square.

Vegetable/Vegetarian Potjies – 

  • Use a beef/chicken/lamb stock as most of them are just flavoured but are still vegetarian. Check the ingredients on the packaging first.
  • Fun fact…you get a bit of iron in your dish from cooking in cast iron! 

Potjie can be anything from vegetarian, vegan to banting-friendly. You can enjoy chicken, seafood, any kind of meat you like. And it does have to be savoury, Jan Braai likes to bake bread or enjoy a Malva pudding made in a potjie pot! 

Taking Care of your Potjie:

Jan Braai has some top tips on how to take care of your potjie pot: 

  1. Clean and dry your pot
  2. Coat the inside with cooking oil
  3. Heat the pot and when it starts to smoke, use kitchen towel to wipe it down
  4. Repeat until the paper towl is clean.

Be sure to clean your potjie pot after each cook, and maintain it. Make sure it is dry before packing it away as it can rust. 

Store it with crumpled up newspaper inside – the paper will gather unwanted moisture and keep it from rusting too badly

Now it’s time to get that potjie pot out, light the fire, give it a clean and start cooking! Here are some of our most loved recipes: