Oxtail Stew Recipe | Beesstert Potjie Resep
In South Africa we have a cooking skillet called a “potjie,” it is a cast iron pot with 3 legs. Just in case you did not know this pot is so close to my heart that it is used as the official logo for chewandchatter.com. Today I made a special dish in my “official skillet,” the family favorite oxtail. Don’t worry if you do not have a “potjie,” use a Dutch oven. The word “potjie” is pronounced poy-key, and in Afrikaans (one of South Africa’s 11 official languages) it is used as a noun that means a little pot. Even this is a misnomer, as the size of a “potjie”can vary from really small to big enough to feed a crowd of 50. Oh the fun we have with this lovely language. Normally you would do a “potjie” over a weekend, when you invite friends and family over and you visit for hours while waiting for the meat to cook till it falls from the bones.
Johan first made this recipe December 2011, when we had a house full of guests. My brother-in-law normally does not eat oxtail, but he put his best foot forward and decided to try this recipe. Needless to say, he had two full servings, and a new family hit was born. Unfortunately the photos of that evening did not come out to our satisfaction and I had to remake the recipe tonight so we could get great photos for your pleasure.
The meat is tough and takes a long time to cook, but the hands-on-time is only about 25 minutes, the rest the stove does all by itself, with minimum supervision from the cook.
The full printable recipe follows below. As always get all the ingredients together before starting to cook. Since this is mainly a meat dish I did not add too many vegetables. If your family is big on vegetables, feel free to add more.
Mix the flour and spices together. To keep the original South African flavor I use Robertson’s BBQ Spice available online from TheAfricanhut.com. You can use your favorite meat spice but the taste would differ. Place the meat in a bag and then add the flour and spices. Make sure that all the meat is covered with the flour mixture.
It is important to brown the meat on all sides. Do not overcrowd the skillet when browning the meat.
Serve as individual portions or allow family members to dish up from a large communal skillet.
- 5 lb oxtail from you favorite meat market or grocery store
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons barbecue/steak spice Robertsons Barbecue spice available from AfricanHut.com
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
- 1 beer – 12 oz. (375 ml) of your favorite – mine is a wheat beer
- ½ cup port
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 6 carrots – peeled and cut into 1 inch (2,5 cm) lengths
- Measure and weigh all ingredients and set aside
- Add the flour and dry spices together. Put all the meat in a large Ziploc bag, add the flour and spices to the bag. Shake the bag to ensure that all the meat is covered in the flour mixture. Remove the meat from the bag. Retain any excess flour.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet to hot. Add the oil to the skillet. Brown the meat on all sides. Take care not to overcrowd the skillet, if necessary brown meat in more than one batch.
- Return all the meat to the skillet. Add the beer, port and garlic to the skillet. Cook on low temperature for 90 minutes.
- Add the vegetables to the skillet. Cook another 30 minutes till the potatoes are soft.
- If the stew is not thick add the retained flour to the stew. Mix and allow to cook for 5 minutes to thicken up.
- Serve with rice and vegetables.
1 This recipe is perfect for a slow cooker. Brown the meat in a skillet before adding it to the skillet for all day cooking. Browning the meat develops the flavor and locks in the goodness.
2 Other vegetables that would work well with this stew are sweet potatoes, pumpkin or zucchini.
3 “Potjie” is pronounced – poy-key