On Wednesday we had one of those fantastic summer days and the evening promised to be just as good so I decided that I would like to do a potjie for dinner, I took the lamb knuckles out of the deep freeze early and phoned Frank and invited him to come over.
Traditionally potjies are done over a wood fire but I must confess that it is a long time since I have done one that way, I find my gas cooker much more convenient especially when there is not that much time and I can regulate the heat so much easier.I first organise and sort out all of my ingredients and then heat up the pot really well with just about a tablespoon of cooking oil inside. My pots are different every time because I don't follow a recipe, but on this occasion I used lamb knuckles after trimming off most of the excess fat, chopped onions and celery, a good tablespoon of crushed garlic, a chilli beef soup powder, a beef stock cube, peeled and chopped butternut squash and potatoes, green beans, Aromat, mixed herbs and salt and pepper.
-Once the pot is sizzling hot chuck all of the meat in and keep stirring it around until it is nicely browned.
-Remove the meat and set it aside, then fry up the onions, celery and garlic in the resultant juices until they are translucent, chopped green, red or yellow peppers are also good but I didn't have any and didn't feel like going out to buy some.
-At this point I cover the meat with the soup powder, a good amount of Aromat and a sprinkle of mixed herbs. Stir it around so that the meat is well covered.
By then Frank had arrived and the aroma of the browned meat and the frying onions was enough to get the juices flowing so we ate some fresh oysters in the meantime.
-Once the onions etc., are sweated through add the meat back into the pot and stir it around so that the onions are well distributed over the meat.
-At this point the pot may become quite dry so I add half a Castle lager and a glass of dry red wine, throw in the potatoes and butternut and reduce the heat because now the pot must simmer for about an hour. Don't add too much liquid because you will get more from the potatoes and butternut.-Keep checking your pot, add salt and pepper to taste, throw the green beans in towards the end as well as things like cauliflower and cabbage so that they don't cook too much and when the meat feels tender and the potatoes are cooked it is ready.
Frank pronounced it a delicious meal and I must confess that I enjoyed it too, Janet made us some rice to go with it and I opened a nice bottle of 2006 Shiraz from the nearby Tulbagh wine estate. Cheers!