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Oxtail Potjie Recipe

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine South African
Servings 6


  • 1 kg fresh oxtail
  • 500 g bacon optional, but surprisingly welcome addition to the flavours
  • 2 large red onions
  • 250 g punnet of mushrooms halved
  • 2 large stalks celery roughly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 250 g yellow patty pans or zucchini, halved
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 packet tomato paste
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 350 ml red wine
  • 10 - 15 baby potatoes unpeeled
  • 5 - 7 carrots thickly cut
  • 2 sachets beef stock
  • 2 cups water


  • Get your fire going, and once you’ve burned at least some of the wood down to coals, move that over to the side and set the potjie pot on it. The pot has three legs so it should stand comfortably, but you can also set it a little higher on bricks or flat rocks.
  • Start chopping your vegetables, beginning with red onions, mushrooms (these should just be halved to keep them reasonably chunky), and celery.
  • Add a generous dollop of olive oil, about two tablespoons worth, before throwing in the vegetables. If, like us, you’re making it on a camping trip or during a summer day, I recommend you chop in the shade and just shoot out to pop things into the pot when you need to.
  • While your veggies are frying up, add the oxtail and cubed bacon and stir everything together. Fry, stirring every few minutes, for about 10 minutes.
  • Add garlic and fry for another 3 minutes.
  • Add a can of tomatoes, 2 cups of water, 2 sachets beef stock, tomato paste, and 350g red wine (roughly one and a half cups). Mix all together and allow to come to a boil.
  • After 20-30 minutes (timing isn’t too important for oxtail potjies, it’s one of their big draws) add whole baby potatoes and thickly cut carrots. I cut my carrots in nice chunky thirds.
  • Give the potjie two hours to slowly cook, stirring every half hour and adding water if you need to.
  • Chop patty pans in halves and bell peppers into large chunks. Add them to the potjie, toss a little extra wine in, and cook together for another 30 minutes.
  • Finally, dish into bowls and serve with fresh bread. Because of the wine and the richness of oxtail, you’re not likely to need salt, but add as necessary after tasting.