Cooking oxtail needs time and patience and a potjie is the perfect method to get that fall off the bone oxtail that I just love. This is a really fantastic recipe that turned out really tender. It takes all the willpower you can muster not to keep opening the potjie to see how its doing and breathe in the awesome aromas so prepare yourself with good friends and a few beers, put it on and just tend to the fire every now and then. Here is an oven made Oxtail Recipe as well.(6 people comfortably)
What you need
500 – 600g Oxtail pieces
2 smoky Kassler chops cubed (you can use bacon, about 1/2 a packet but bacon just does not seem to be as smoky as it used to be)
½ cup seasoned flour
1 liter beef stock
400g tin tomato paste
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
2 dry bay leaves
4 large leeks roughly chopped
2 large onions roughly chopped
2 large carrots roughly chopped
3 large potatoes roughly chopped
250g punnet button mushrooms
1 cup red wine
½ cup sherry
Fresh Mixed herbs, about 10 stalks tied together that you can remove easily or a bouquet garni.
Prepare your fire to a hot coal stage and have plenty of spare charcoal or wood standing by because you are going to need to keep the fire going for about 4 hours.
Chop up all your veg and place in bowls ready to add.
Place your potjie on the edge of the fire to heat up, add the butter and a good splash of olive oil, add the Kassler cubes or bacon and cook for about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the oxtail pieces with the seasoned flour to coat and then brown with the kassler cubes, turning them with tongs to get a nice colour all over.
Remove the oxtail pieces and the kassler and set aside.
Add the carrots, the onions and the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes.
Now add back the meat and all of the rest of the ingredients, stir, place on the lid, make sure the fire is moderate to hot just not boiling, crack open a beer and sit back for at least 2 hours before you take a look.
Make sure the fire is kept fairly constant, you want the sauce to bubble slowly, not boil.
After 3 hours check again and if the sauce is too thin, add a tablespoon of maizena(cornstarch) to 2 tablespoons of water, mix and then add to the liquid, stir and cook for the last half hour.
Leave it on the fire for about 3 1/2 hours in total before serving.
It’s a South African institution the Potjie so get your friends around and give it a try.
The same recipe can be used for lamb neck, lamb knuckles or beef shin. Here is a traditional oven made Oxtail recipe.