Welcome to my blog, these are the ramblings and musings of an (upper) middle aged biker and if you enjoy braais, (barbeques) beers and motorbikes then hopefully you will enjoy what Janet and I do; we do lots of braais, we drink lots of beer and we tour South Africa on our motorbike, which at the moment is a BMW R1200RT. Join us, read about what we do and please leave us your comments.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sunday oxtail potjie for two

After trailering the big red machine down to Maxwil Trading in Killarney Gardens and waiting an anxious couple of days for news, I got an email from Claus to say that there was nothing major wrong with the bike, and in fact it is in very good condition for its age and mileage.
What a relief! The front forks had to be re-chromed and new "O" rings fitted but that is a feature of living on the coast; corrosion, other than that the regular service will be done and I am hoping to get my bike back in time for the club breakfast run next Sunday.
So what does a biker do on a sunny, calm Sunday when he hasn't got a bike? He cooks!.......and drinks beer. I decided on an oxtail potjie.
Purists will say that a decent pot can only be done over a fire and I agree to a certain extent, in the old days I was the same; scornful of anyone who would dare to cook a potjie over a gas cooker.
Now, however I have bent to the sheer convenience of the adjustable gas flame that has taken the effort out of trying to maintain a constant heat with little bits of wood.
Now while my pot is simmering I can chat with my friends and enjoy a cold beveridge without constantly worrying about temperture variances.
 I had a nice little packet of oxtail, sort of enough for three people but Janet and I are big eaters and anyway there is nothing better than left-overs the next night!

I coated the meat in cake wheat flour seasoned with "Six Gun Grill" spice, a favourite at the moment and then dumped it into the pot which had been heating up some olive oil. Once it was all nicely browned I removed it and set it aside.

Next to go in, my chopped onions, green bell peppers, one small habanero chilli finely chopped and a tablespoon of crushed garlic. This was fried until soft and translucent and then the meat went back into the pot.

By now it smells good enough to eat but there is a long time to go, I add a half a beer at this point and then make up a soup and wine mixture;

 Brown onion soup powder into a mug, add a crushed beef stock cube and fill the cup with red wine, in this case a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from Waverley Hills. Add to the pot, salt and pepper to taste, give it all a good stir and let it simmer for two hours - I still give a good stir every now and then
You have to judge when to do the next part of the pot; the vegetables, they only take about an hour so your meat has to be good and tender before you start them so that by the time the vegetables are cooked your meat is "fall off the bone" tender.
I added potatoes, butternut squash and sweetcorn miellies to the pot, turned the heat up a smidgen and left it for another hour.

When I judged that the pot had about half an hour to go I added a good wedge of cabbage and by the time the whole process had completed roughly five hours it was ready.

I usually like to make a pot of "sadza" to go with a meal like this and if there are any Rhodies reading this they will know all about it.
Sadza is an old Rhodesian staple made from ground maize and cooked into a stiff "porridge" using mostly lots of elbow grease!
I learned to enjoy it and how to cook it watching the cook when I was a youngster and a measure of how well it is prepared is if you can take a bit out of the pot and roll it into a ball without it sticking to your hand.
This ball is then dipped into the gravy and Rhodies will stand around the pot eating like this before eventually dishing up a plate of food.

A delicious meal, but really with good quality ingredients doing a potjie is not difficult, I suppose the worst thing that you could do would be to burn the food, if you watch the heat carefully you shouldn't go wrong.

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