Potjiekos is a combination of meat and nutritious vegetables cooked on a smokey, slow burning coals of of campfire . It requires long slow cooking over a low heat, so you should keep the fire small. Start with hot coals to brown your meat , let the fire die down to a low heat add a little water and close the lid. Add coals from a second fire from time to time to keep the the low temperature constant under the pot. Arrange coals around the belly of the pot – not directly underneath it. If you need a thicker sauce add 2 to 3 potatoes a the beginning and they will cook away and dissolve. After you have browned your meat , do not stir. A No 3 pot works for 6 to 8 people.
You need about for a 3 – 4 hours for a meat potjie, 2 – 3 hours for a chicken potjie and a fish potjie about 1 hour.
Add very little liquid to start as more will be created during cooking – often only visible at the end. Liquid should just cover the ingredients – they should not swim in it.
• When adding liquid, always heat it first and pour it slowly down the side of the pot. Adding cold liquid to a hot pot can cause cracking.
• Avoid adding large quantities of tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice or wine as the acidity reacts with the cast iron. Rather use water or stock.
• When layering ingredients, the pot should only be two-thirds full to allow room for the steam.
• Keep the lid on – lifting it too often will bring down the temperature (lengthening cooking time) and cause valuable steam to evaporate.
• When you do lift the lid, first tilt it so all the collected condensation runs back into the pot.
• Stir the potjie only just before serving. Use a wooden (not metal) spoon.
Keep the side dishes simple – Rice, Samp or Pap or Dumplings