WEEKEND GETAWAY – Cape Town (3)

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 ingredients for our chicken potjie

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.

The chicken, onion and garlic – after the browning process

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!

Patty pans – we love them in a chicken potjie

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.

After 2 hours (or maybe 2 bottles of wine), your potjie will look like this – ready to enjoy

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 …

Potjiekos, rice and home-baked bread (with home-made apricot jam)

Individual potjies:

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.

Two long tables with plenty of space for all of our friends
Each guest got his/her own potjie on a wooden board, small wooden spoon and a container for burning gel to prepare their own food

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).

There were even two different meats – steak and chicken

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!

My own potjie – ready to be enjoyed

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.

55 comments

  1. What a splendid way to spend time with friends preparing these lovely pots of food and then savouring every forkful. I was interested to see that Berto had put sliced corn on the cob into the pot, I’ve only ever seen it grilled before! Must try it some time!

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    • You’re absolute right Marion – this is a great way of spending time with friends (we had so much fun). We tried the sliced corn a couple of years for the first time in our pot and realised how much of the sauce are absorbed by the corn (which makes it tastes so much better) … now, it’s a definite ingredient in our pot!

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  2. Ag maar al jou potjies lyk tog te lekker. My man maak ook ‘n heerlike pot. Soms hoender, soms skaapvleis met baie groente. Dit maak ons gewoonlik by die see net so ‘n asnd voor skeerbuik toeslaan.

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    • Yes, I can’t see how you will travel with your big black pot overseas with you … which made me think, are you sending a container over with some of your stuff? My brother, who lives in the UK, bought a potjie on the internet and the guy that delivered it to his home, was really confused with this HEAVY small parcel 😄. Their British friends love his potjies and they try to make it often (in summer).

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      • Yes we are going to share a container for some essentials and sentimental stuff. I can imagine the delivery guy must’ve been intrigued 😂. I gave my cousin my potjie… It was my mother’s so I am both sad to let it go but glad she is enjoying it.

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      • Well, at least the potjie stays in the family. We kept only 6 boxes of stuff that are sentimental to us (it’s not a lot if you think we stayed in a big 3-bedroom house)! We had to learn what to let go (and in some way, it was great to scale down).

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  3. Well, I’ve not long finished a roast pork dinner and I’m still very full, but it all looks good. A nice way to entertain friends. I get a bit panicky cooking for guests so I like the idea of them cooking for themselves.

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    • Jo, I can assure you, the potjie was really delicious (my husband’s one ☺️). Our group of friends normally enjoys the small potjie evenings – I’m not so sure they always enjoy their own food – but the fun of making your own potjie, makes it an enjoyable evening.

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  4. Dis iets wat uitgesterf het saam met die togryers en toe weer in die laat 70s begin herleef het. My oupa was ‘n togryer en daar was altyd gepraat van togkos, en die term potjiekos is ‘n effense ausländisch nuutskepping.

    As ek beoordelaar is, tref ek duidelike onderskeid tussen die tradisionele pot en die moderne. Jou pot neig heerlik na tradisioneel.

    Pot gaan oor metode meer as oor resep. Ek dink ek moet eendag daaroor skryf, dalk met jou uitstekende artikel as agtergrond?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Baie interessante storie wat jy hier vertel – ek sou graag meer wou hoor oor die togryers. Ons was vlugtig in die Togryers Museum in Ceres (toe ons die Tankwa Camino gestap het), maar sal graag weer daarheen wil teruggaan om meer tyd daar te spandeer.
      Ja, Berto is beslis meer tradisioneel wanneer dit by kosmaak kom … is dit nie dalk maar net ‘n bewys dat ‘n mens terug hunker na jou wortels nie? O ja, jy’s meer as welkom om ons artikel te gebruik om meer oor pot maak te skryf – ek sal dit beslis baie geniet!

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      • O, baie dankie, sodra ek weer ‘n helder dag het. Die kop is op halfkrag vandag. Gees is gewillig maar die vlees werk soos my Samsung Galaxy; raak sommer vanself dofswart.

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    • Hannah, it definitely is yummy … very much like a stew. But when it’s made on a fire, there’s just a definite flavour that you won’t find in food that’s been prepared on the stove 😋. And of course, to relax next to the fire, is a bonus!

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    • You’ve got it John … it’s more about the party (than the food) and the host can relax without running around with plates & dishes. Here, it’s each guest for him/herself – a most enjoyable affair 😁!

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    • Thanks for popping in Tricia. Yes, to enjoy friends company (especially around a big table while eating) is one of the most wonderful things in life! I hope to soon read about your great weekends (and weekdays) in France too!

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  5. This is such a neat idea where everyone can create their own individualized meal. This reminds me of something similar in the Netherlands called gourmetten, except they use a grill or hot plate. The idea is everyone can fry their own concoction in a little pan that’s then put on the grill in the middle of the table. It’s such a crowd pleaser.

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    • Oh, I love that idea of the Netherlands’ own way of preparing your food! I think, with such an occasion, it’s probably more about the fun and company of friends, than what is about the food 😉 … but nevertheless, it’s a winner!

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  6. Sounds like heaps of fun. I love nothing more than an open fire cooking – it is actually a delightful method of preparing your meals, one which takes you out of the kitchen, is far more interactive and social, and produces tastes your stove top never could 🥰 thanks for sharing and have a good day ☺️ Aiva xx

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    • Exactly Aiva … it’s just like you said … heaps of fun 😁. We love to prepare our food on the open fire (here in South Africa and in my language Afrikaans, it’s called ‘braai’). We do this basically every weekend (and sometimes even mid-week as well) and of course when we’re camping! I hope your weekend is going well. Corna 🌞

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  7. The food looks really great, so lekker! (Note to self, don’t read Corna’s post before a meal 😅) it’s 2 long hours to go before supper time. I’m sure you all had a lot of fun making your own potjie, what a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Haha, I hope you had your dinner by now! Oh yes, there’s a lot fun in making your own potjie (not always as good as when the “master chef” makes one good pot), but every now and then it’s great to get a bunch of friends (and their children) together for a good time!

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  8. Oops… it seems my comment on this one didn’t go through. Obviously, as I’ve come to expect from you guys, just about all the food looks exceptional. (Except for the corn, can’t reconcile that). These days we are leaning towards veggie, though I have to concede that the chicken with garlic and onion is enough to have me running for the nearest butcher’s.

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    • Ha, yes corn is the wild card here 😄. The smell of onion and garlic frying in a pot/pan is one of my favourite food smells … it reminds me of my grandma in her kitchen years ago, busy preparing a BIG lunch for all of her children and grandchildren.

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