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Classic Oxtail Potjie Recipe

Can’t remember where we pilfered this recipe from. So if you’re reading your recipe here, give us a shout in the comments and we’ll give credit where credit is due!

Classic Oxtail Potjie Recipe

  • 500 - 600g Oxtail pieces
  • 2 smoky Kassler chops cubed (you can use bacon, about ½ a packet but bacon just does not seem to be as smoky as it used to be)
  • ½ cup seasoned flour
  • 1 liter beef stock
  • 400g tin tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 4 large leeks roughly chopped
  • 2 large onions roughly chopped (little onions – saves chopping_
  • 2 large carrots roughly chopped (maybe baby carrots - saves the chopping)
  • 3 large potatoes roughly chopped (prefer baby potatoes – saves chopping)
  • 250g punnet button mushrooms
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ cup sherry
  • 50g butter
  • Olive oil
  • Peppercorns
  • Fresh Mixed herbs, about 10 stalks tied together that you can remove easily

Prepare your fire to a hot coal stage and have plenty of spare charcoal or wood standing by because you are going to need to keep the fire going for about 4 hours.

Chop up all your veg and place in bowls ready to add. Place your potjie on the edge of the fire to heat up, add the butter and a good splash of olive oil, add the Kassler cubes or bacon and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the oxtail pieces with the seasoned flour to coat and then brown with the kassler cubes, turning them with tongs to get a nice colour all over. Remove the oxtail pieces and the kassler and set aside.

Add the carrots, the onions and the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes. 

Now add back the meat and all of the rest of the ingredients, stir, place on the lid, make sure the fire is moderate to hot (just not boiling), crack open a beer and sit back for at least 2 hours before you take a look. Make sure the fire is kept fairly constant, you want the sauce to bubble slowly, not boil.

After 3 hours check again and if the sauce is too thin, add a tablespoon of maizena (corn starch) to 2 tablespoons of water, mix and then add to the liquid, stir and cook for the last half hour. Leave it on the fire for about 3 ½ hours in total before serving.

LESSONS LEARNED: Ok. The heat of that fire is ABSOLUTELY BLOODY CRITICAL. Our cook time was more like 4.5 to 5 hours all told. I guess we were at the top of a mountain. Keep the fire constant, keep it hot. 

To be honest. We poked this one. It turned to mostly cooked oxtail soup. The veg overcooked, the meat slightly undercooked. Poor form. Shame on us. Didn’t do it justice. Better Oxtail Potjie experience coming soon. Take nothing away from the recipe - it was all human error.

When you try this, leave the meat in for longer and add the veg later.

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