Tuesday, September 2, 2008


This was another dish I ate at the Google cafe. I almost never cook beef--B and I both prefer chicken--but I enjoyed the tender meat with the flavor of the apricots so much I knew I had to have this again. I scoured the Internet until I found a similar-sounding recipe (although I may still beg our friend for the authentic Google recipe). Biltongmakers describes this as a "lovely" potjie. I couldn't agree more.

I did a little tweaking to the original recipe, and I'll do a little more next time. As we'd never heard of potjie before the Google trip, we didn't have a potjie pot. I just used a large pot. Next time, I'll use a crockpot. I left out the kidney because we're not kidney people. I also used a little under a pound of stew meat, because I didn't think about the math before I sent B to the store to buy the meat. If I used the proper amount of meat next time, I'll increase the amount of sauce, because I thought it was just perfect.

The recipe calls for the vegetables to be layered into the pot in the order the ingredients list gives them. This may work in a potjie pot, but it was not the best idea for a regular pot on the stove. I cooked our potjie for around an hour extra, and the cabbage still was not done. Next time, I'll cook the veggies in a more sensible order, adding them according to their individual cooking times. I also used fresh apricots, because our friend Z had just given us a bunch from her garden. I feel bad for using them in this dish, because they basically disintegrated. Occasionally, I would get a bite with a bit of apricot. They added a subtle flavor to the dish, but next time I'll use dried ones, so they'll hold up and give a more distinct flavor. I also omitted the sweet potatoes, because I don't like them. I may try them next time, though, as I thought that regular potatoes seemed out of place in this dish. Or maybe I'll just stir in some gnocchi before serving.
The recipe below is a combination of what I did last time and what I'm going to try next time, so the times may be a little off.

Beef and Veggies Potjie (adapted from Biltongmakers.com)
1 lb. stewing beef, cubed
2 medium onions, chopped
125 ml dried apricots, soaked in water for 1 hour
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
6 small zucchini, sliced
250 ml cabbage, chopped
1 tomato, peeled and sliced
30 ml dried parsley30 ml cooking oil
black pepper to taste

the sauce
125 ml sherry (the recipe calls for sweet; I used dry)
125 ml soy sauce
5 ml black pepper
3 ml dry mustard
1 ml dry rosemary
1 ml dry thyme
1 cube beef stock
500 ml boiling water

Don't add salt; there's plenty in the soy sauce.

1. Heat the oil in the pot cook the meat till almost brown.
2. Add the onions and brown together.
3. Mix the sauce and add it to the pot.
4. Stir well, cover with the lid and simmer for 1.5 hours.
5. Add the cabbage and cook for 30-60 minutes.
6. Add the carrots and cook for 30 minutes.
7. Add the dried apricots and the remaining vegetables, sprinkling some pepper over the tomatoes, and simmer until vegetables are soft (30-60 min).

prep time: 15-30 min.
cooking time: 3 hrs 15 min.-4 hrs 15 min.

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