An evening with friends … around a couple of small potjies
I can hear you saying: “What, more food pictures?” … well, it seems this weekend getaway was all about a good time with friends (while having great food) 😊.
However, in this post I would actually like to show you how you can turn a great party into an awesome party! There are two ways of preparing this dish – in one big pot over the fire or several small individual pots inside your own kitchen – in Afrikaans we call this potjiekos.
What is ‘potjiekos’?
In South Africa, potjiekos (literally translated ‘small-pot food’) is a dish prepared outdoors. It is traditionally cooked in a round, cast iron three-legged cauldron. The potjie descended from the Dutch oven brought from the Netherlands to South Africa in the 17th century and are found in the homes and villages of people throughout Southern Africa. (Wikipedia).
One BIG pot:
This is how we normally prepare our potjie … in a big pot over the fire (and outdoors). To illustrate this process, here follows a few pictures of a potjie that we enjoyed a couple of weeks before our weekend away.
Berto made a chicken potjie on this day, but you can obviously make anything you desire … lamb and game are also huge favourites.
The process of preparing a potjie are more or less always the same. Berto will normally fry the meat until brown and then take it out of the potjie. He will then fry onion and garlic until brown and put the meat back into the potjie.
Then it’s time to add all your lovely veggies. In our lamb potjie, we normally have only a few vegetables (like potatoes and carrots). With chicken however, we love to throw in all that is good and colourful!
The secret to any good potjie is to not stir too much – you only have to ‘lift’ the ingredients every now and then to make sure there’s enough fluid and it’s not burning.
There are several side dishes that goes well with a potjie – rice, mashed potatoes or couscous. But few things are better than fresh home-baked bread! On this day, we made rice and bread … maybe a bit too much starch on one plate …
Now, let’s get back to our weekend away and a great get together with our friends. Our friends have a dozen (or two) individual potjies and they invited all of our friends, their children and their friends for a potjie evening.
This time, the potjies are prepared inside (by each person). Our friends have this stunning kitchen and long tables … ideal for visits that normally stretch into the midnight hours.
There are a whole lot of different fresh ingredients on the table – baby onions, mini corn, mushrooms, carrots, patty pans, peppers, baby marrows and cherry tomatoes … every person can add just what they like (this is one of the great advantages of these individual potjies).
Now, I don’t think it’s necessary to tell you that we all had an amazing time! Some even made two potjies – one with steak and another with chicken. It was such a fun evening and we made great memories! Oh, and it’s also the perfect way of teaching young children (and older ones) to make their own food!
Which one do I prefer? It’s 50/50 … I think Berto’s potjie is much tastier than my own concoction. However, the company of dear friends and the fun we had around the table while each one prepared their own dish, is priceless.