Kalahari Lamb Potjie

Northern Cape Taste Experience

This recipe is from Deon in the Kalahari. He once went to a potjiekos competition to give moral support to some of his senior colleagues, but the guy in charge of making the potjie developed a lack of concentration. Deon, who was only 22 years old at the time, ended up making the pot by himself, ensuring his team had an entry to submit for judging and got something to eat. Although they didn't win the overall competition (which was judged on presentation, team spirit and taste), they did win the category for best-tasting pot of the day. Not bad for a rookie pot-maker drafted in as a last-minute substitution.

Today, Deon’s friends regularly ask for this recipe after they taste it and he says, ‘It is my number one tried and tested potjie recipe.’

A wonderful story from a beautiful part of our country!

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)

This recipe is from Deon in the Kalahari. He once went to a potjiekos competition to give moral support to some of his senior colleagues, but the guy in charge of making the potjie developed a lack of concentration.

2.5 kg stewing lamb or ‘potjiekos lamb’ pieces

1 tot olive oil

1 tot butter

1 tot white bread or cake flour

½ tot salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

3 onions (sliced into rings)

3 bell peppers (any combination of green, yellow or red, seeded and sliced into strips)

4 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)

fresh ginger, equal in volume to the garlic (grated)

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp medium curry powder

1 tsp nutmeg

4 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

4 potatoes (cubed)

2 cups mutton or beef stock

½ cup chutney

1 orange (juice and zest)

orange slices and lemon thyme (to garnish)

WHAT TO DO

1. Heat olive oil and butter in your potjie. Dust the meat with the flour, season with salt and pepper and fry it in the potjie in batches. If you fry all the meat at once, it will steam and become grey, hence you do it in batches. Keep the browned meat aside. Once all the meat is browned and the potjie is empty again, proceed to the next step.

2. If needed, add a little bit more oil to your potjie and fry the onions and peppers until they are soft and start to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon sticks.

3. After a minute or two, as soon as the spices look like they might burn, add the meat back into the potjie. Also add the potatoes and liquid stock. Use a spoon to scrape loose anything that might be sticking to the bottom of the potjie and then put the lid on the potjie. Simmer over gentle heat for 2 hours.

4. At this point, add the chutney and orange juice and zest. Gently toss and now simmer for another hour until the meat is tender. During this time, you should consider keeping the lid off the potjie to cook off any excess liquid there might be. If the potjie looks a bit dry, keep the lid on and if it looks very dry and on the verge of burning, add a bit of extra liquid like wine, beer, water or juice.

5. After a total cooking time of 3 hours, give your potjie a quick quality-control taste test and add salt and pepper if needed. Alternatively, just let guests add salt and pepper to taste when serving.

6. When you are happy with the consistency of the sauce and the meat is soft and tender, whichever happens last, the potjie is ready. Serve on a bed of rice – basmati, jasmine, white, brown or whatever fancy rice is in fashion in the area you operate in.