Funny thing about cooking is it isn’t always about the recipe. When you think about Southern food, you often think about barbecue. But there’s no recipe for barbecue. Even if I was doing this project from Mars and wanted to prepare barbecue, I’d find recipes all over the map. That’s because barbecue is a way of cooking instead of one iconic dish.
That’s the story behind potjiekos, which looks to be the iconic meal of Namibia, even if there is no one recipe to make it happen. Put food in a slow cooker, sit around it for two hours, and eat. That simple. I looked at a lot of potjiekos recipes before merging a couple recipes. Admittedly, I was pretty nervous about this one, especially after the last few meals – aside from the one where I followed the recipe of a great chef, I’ve had a run of a few pretty un-great meals. I watched Anthony Bourdain’s adventures in Namibia to try and build up the excitement. But that was the infamous episode in which he ate a raw warthog anus, and naturally did nothing to raise my excitement about the coming meal. But I wouldn’t let a TV host’s misadventure deter me. So I purchased a Dutch oven, quite a heaping helping of ingredients and set about marinading chicken before cooking. It was phenomenal. Easily the second-best meal I’ve had as part of this project, only ranked behind Ricker’s laap recipe. The flavors layered amongst each other quite well, and the unstirred potjie kept the flavors from becoming mush. Plus, it was a great excuse to sit on my back patio for a few hours, beer in hand, monitoring the fire that cooked my dinner.
Without further ado – I bring you my recipe for potjiekos, as inspired by this blog. Ingredients Marinade
- 2 cups Natural Yoghurt
- 1 cup Dry White Wine
- 2 ts dried Thyme
- 2 ts Grated Lemon Peel
- 1 ts Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 ts Dried Tarragon
- 2 Tb cooking oil – heat up
- 3 lb chicken thigh
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 1 red chili, chopped
- 2 pieces of fresh garlic
- 1 piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 lb apricots
- 1 Tb berbere powder
- 1 cup water
- 5 carrots, sliced and peeled
- 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- Salt, nutmeg, coriander, turmeric to taste
- 1 ts cardamom
- 1 ts cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tb of lemon juice
- 250 gr dried apricots, divided
- 1 Tb parsley
- 1 ts garlic powder
- 1 ts lemon pepper
- 1 ts dried oregano
- 1 Tb black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 Tb sugar
- 2 Tb salt
- 1 Tb yellow curry powder
- 1 chicken stock cube
- Marinate the chicken in a Ziploc bag for 6-8 hours.
- Prepare a few bowls: 1 with your chopped onion, 1 with your chopped carrots/potatoes/pepper/fresh apricots (don’t mix them – layer them), and 1 with your spices and water and wine.
- Start a good fire – doesn’t have to be big, just has to be hot.
- Heat the oil in the Dutch oven/potjie. Pull the chicken pieces from the marinade and gently place the chicken in the bottom, letting it start to fry. If you can safely deal with the heat, flip the chicken.
- Add the onions and fry slightly. Then add the rest of the marinade.
- Place the contents of the carrot/potato/pepper/apricot bowl on top of the onions and chicken, trying (but not vital) to keep the layers from mixing.
- Pour the wine/spice/water mixture into the potjie. Add half the dried apricots.
- Simmer for 2 hours.
- Add the rice, and cook for another 15-30 minutes until done.
- Serve, placing the remaining dried apricots on top.
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