There is nothing better to accompany a good game of rugby (when your team wins is even better) than good food. In marches the potjie. Pronounced Poi-kee, it is a traditional cast iron 3 legged pot that the voortrekkers of Dutch descent took with them when they escaped the English, moving away from Cape Town up north. Very much like a dutch oven, except on legs. This can also be done in the oven using a pot with a tight fitting lid, or on the braai (BBQ) using a solid pot.
To start with, make your fire. Wood or coal, they must be well going before you put your potjie on top of them, and you must be able to move the hot coals around. When you put your ear near the lid to listen, it must be simmering, not boiling. If boiling, then take a few coals away.
The potjie pot below is a number 4 which has a 9.3 litre capacity. Yes, we are All Black supporters and yes, that is Australian coal, which seems to work much better than the Wallabies are playing lately.
Just as in rugby, there are rules to follow. Unlike rugby, they are simple and few.
1. Layer your vegetables from hard to soft
2. Never, and I mean NEVER, lift the lid.
1 leg of lamb
rosemary, fresh sprigs or dried
salt and pepper
1 large onion
cloves of garlic to your liking , finely chopped
2-3 carrots , sliced thickly
1 kg of either baby potatoes, whole, or potatoes quartered or halved depending on size
handful of green beans, topped and tailed
1 1/2 cups peas. I like baby minted ones. No need to defrost
2 cups or a punnet of black mushrooms (any will do)
2 large sprigs of rosemary
2 chicken stock cubes.
1/2- 1 cup white wine
1 tub sour cream
salt and pepper
* Take a sharp pointed knife and make small incision holes all over the lamb, turning it upside down too. Must just be able to stick a bit of your finger in.
* Slice your garlic cloves
* Put one small slice of garlic together with a piece of rosemary and stuff it into one of the holes. Do it for each hole.
* Season the lamb
* When the pot is hot, add the chopped onion and crushed garlic and bacon and fry for about 5 minutes until looking good. Like this .
* Add the lamb. Make sure it fits !! Otherwise bring out the kitchen tools or axe and have fun
* Brown the lamb.
*Throw in the potatoes, the carrots, beans, peas and then mushrooms ... all in that order.
* Place rosemary sprigs and chicken stock cubes on top
* Pour in the wine
* Season liberally with salt and pepper
* Close the lid, pour yourself another glass or open a beer, and sit down to watch the rugby and chat with your mates for about 4-5 hours. Just keep on checking that it is not boiling and that it is simmering and play with the coals.
* Half an hour before wanting to eat, open the lid. YES, you are allowed to now, and will not be given a yellow card. Add the sour cream and give it a stir. If you think it needs more gravy, pour in some more wine.
* Dish up and serve with a side salad and crusty bread or rice.
* Unfortunately, after five hours of wine, I totally forgot to take a photo of the end result. But believe me, it was really delicious. Just imagine a tasty creamy garlic gravy with lamb falling off the bone.
So you guys and gals will have to send your photos to me.