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The People love them some potjie!

May 19, 2010

My dear friend Amygape joined our family for a long weekend at Lake Travis last weekend.  Amygape has spent the majority of the last year living and working at an orphanage in South Africa.  We went to college together and were roommates while I worked in Austin and she in law school.  I’ve watched Amygape’s career progress, from her sexy high-powered job at a phat law firm in Dallas to her role as house mom at the Agape orphanage…for a whopping salary of $free-ninety-nine a year.  She’s back in town until June, then will return to South Africa for another six month stint.  I support her whole-heartedly, and I’m in awe of how she lives so true to her values, but DANG!  Why can’t she live true to her values from Houston?  More specifically, within a five mile radius of my house?

Anyway, Amygape has developed a full-fledged obsession with potjie  (pronounced poykey- the South African equivalent of a cast iron dutch oven for slow cooking over an open fire.  She brought with her a size 3 potjie (and they go up to size 25 – big enough for me to comfortably raise a small litter of squirrels with room for a winter’s worth of nuts).  As soon as the skies cleared, the Good Doctor fired up the coals with half a canister of kerosene – just like any good boy scout.  And we settled in for a proper four-hour potjie extravaganza.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for your next potjie craving:

STEP 1:  Heat up the potjie in an open fire.

STEP 2:  Add onions and your meat of choice.  We went with good ol’ lamb shank with plenty of marrow for the slurping.

STEP 3:  Secret seasonings, juice, potatoes and butternut squash get some loving.

STEP 4:  Sit back, turn up the baby monitor to remind yourself that there’s a baby sleeping somewhere in the vicinity, put your feet up, drink some wine and talk about visiting Amygape in South Africa.

Not pictured are the vultures that were circling overhead. They ain't getting my lamb marrow! Shoo!

STEP 5:  What’s the perfect side dish for lamb potjie?  Why, korean bolgogi, of course!  And looky there, a nice hot fire for my dad to showcase his refugee-style bbq skills next to the potjie.

STEP 6:  Once the sun has set and the people inch a bit closer to the fire, it’s time to dish it out!


Step 7:  Slurp it up!  The potatoes and butternut squash cooked down to a beautiful thick stew.  The cabbage gave it texture to keep it interesting and strawberry-kiwi juice added a sweet touch to highlight the lamb.  Of course, the marrow was the cherry on top.  Meals like this reenforce my love for food.  Food brings people together.  THIS food brings people together.  It kind of had to because it took two of us to start the fire, one of us to chop up the ingredients, another to mind the pot, yet another to keep the dogs away from the scorching fire, and all of us to drink red wine and laze about while the stew cooked low and slow.  I was scraping the bottom of my bowl, my feet up by the fire, enjoying the cool night air when Amygape summed up my thoughts in one eloquent statement, “The people love potjie.”  Yes, Amygape.  The people do love them some potjie.  Your potjie, to be specific.

STEP 9:  Rinse and repeat.  Preferably in South Africa.

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From → Food, Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. i want you to go to south africa just to see a photo of kien in a size 25 potjie, with the family of squirrels.

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