'Potjie' literally means small pot and is made of heavy wrought iron. It normally stands on three legs (tripod) over burning coals. It's typically South African and I suppose like a good cholent, everybody has his/her secret. The potjie, with a bit of cooking oil inside, is placed on a fire until the oil has been sufficiently heated. Meat is added first, depending on the preference of the cook. This can be anything from lamb to beef, or even vegetables. The meat is spiced and often a form of alcohol is added for flavour.
When the meat is lightly browned, vegetables like potatoes are added, along with whatever spices are needed. Water or other liquids may or may not then be added, depending on the views of the potjie chef. The lid is then closed and the contents left to simmer slowly without stirring. This distinguishes a potjiekos from a stew that is stirred. The aim is that the flavours of the different ingredients mix as little as possible. Although some chefs may permit stirring from time to time (which is highly frowned upon), it does create a stew where all the ingredients tend to taste similar. Little sauce or water is used, so that cooking is by steam and not boiling in a sauce like a stew; thus the heat must be very low and constant. A potjie is a social activity, with guests generally engaging in fireside chitchat while the potjie cooks, typically three to six hours.
Although I won't be cooking my vegetables this way for the seder, I will be serving them in a potjie pot, in keeping with my African Seder theme.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 4-6 ServingsServings
- 16 oz. peeled pumpkin/butternut cut into sticks (about 2 inch length and 1/4 inch width)
- 10 - 12 oz Green asparagus (not too thin)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup oil.
Sprinkle over vegetables, mix well and place onto baking tray and bake uncovered in a preheated oven 300 deg F (150 Deg. C) for about an 45 minutes turn them over, add asparagus and continue cooking for about 45 minutes until lightly browned and soft. Low and slow is the way to go with these veggies.