Project Food Blog

Potjie, or A Murderous Weekend in the Country

Last weekend we went to a fabulous place called Eynsham Hall. It was a company event, and it was great to meet the other half's work mates,  quite a few of whom are from South Africa. The meal was great, interspersed with fatal blows to the head (poor Tom) and gunshots... our table wasn't so hot at identifying the killer... we named someone who sadly had already bitten the dust! As the venue was a former Police Training College this was a tad ironic. 

I had a great time meeting lots of people I had heard much about but never met before, and on our table we had Cameron (from Edinburgh) Nicky (a film maker and fellow Geordie) plus Dan and Danesh from South Africa. We all got chatting and I happened to mention that I'd worked with someone from South Africa at one of my old schools.

We got talking about food (of course) and I asked if they knew of the dish Poike, as my former colleague from SA had given me a recipe for a stew that I knew by that name. Danesh got a little nostalgic, although he said that it was spelled with a 'J' which got me very confused (hey, people were dying by this point) and said that his recipe didn't have chicken in it....  

SO.... I have researched the dish further as I was quite curious by the local differences which so often happen across large land masses.
It seems that this dish is uniquely South African. It is defined as a friendly food, to be enjoyed by rich or poor, young and old, city-dwellers and country folk, needing only one’s imagination when it comes to selecting the ingredients. (Our kind of recipe!)

It is also  the ideal food to serve to a crowd of friends. (So perfect for this blog!)
Potjie (pronounced Poy-Key)  is traditionally made around an open fire and is always to be consumed in the company of good friends and good beer! In SA it has had a revival of late, and is reportedly more popular than having a barbecue. 

I have made it many times and although my version may not be the most authentic as I am clearly not from South Africa, the recipe I follow and now share with you is one that has been in Bett’s family for many years. See what you think! And thank you Betts for the introduction to such a great stew!


  1. Great post.I like your recipes here! And it's very helpful esp for this coming holidays when there are a lot of family gatherings and celebrations going on.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set, Thanks!-Alisa@Foodista

  2. Very nostalgic! As an ex- South African (now a proud British Citizen)we still have our tradition potjie even if it os on the gas hob!!! (original potjie pot must be used!) There will always be a Potjie competition when large groups of friends and family have gathered for the so called "Potjie evening!" Most people call it a glorified "stew" but the secret is to add the ingedients (layered) and not do any stirring!! (this is very important) and when dishing up all the individual layers are revealed! Thanx Lucy, it has brought back lots of good memories!!! Jeanine Venter