Recipes from South Africa

As long as you are not carnivorously challenged, it is so easy to eat well in South Africa.  And, I ate so well!

One specialty that I discovered was pooitjie. (Yep, and it's pronounced just like it looks POY key.) I learned that pooitjie was cooked in layers with the meat at the bottom and vegetables placed in order of hardness to softness.  You should never stir the pooitjie and it should never have peas in it.  I personally think peas would have tasted good, but what do I know about pooitjie?

I sampled pooitjie with pork, chicken, beef, ox tail, mutton, and ostrich.  So, it's safe to say that you can use whatever meat floats your boat.  I got this recipe from my host.

Coenie's Mutton Curry Pooitjie
Potchefstroom, South Africa

3 - 4 Tbs oil
3 heaping Tbs butter
4 lbs mutton, cubed
3 large onions, diced
2 mutton bullion cubes
Just over 4 cups of Coke
4 tsp med. curry powder
2 tsp borrie (optional)

2 tsp grated ginger 
4 large tomatoes, diced
12 small potatoes, whole  
12 baby carrots, peeled
1 1/3 lbs pumpkins
1 cup diced mushrooms
salt n pepper to taste
little bit of brown sugar
cinnamon to taste
Heat the oil and butter in the pot.  Add the meat and braai until brown.  If you have never been to South Africa, you've probably never heard of "braai".  When you hear that word, think "barbeque".  Take the meat out and set it aside in a container.  Add the onions and braai until soft.  It takes an hour to prepare the onions and meat.
Place the meat on top of the onions.  Dissolve the two mutton bullion cubes in a cup of hot water.  Add the Coke (really!), curry powder, borrie (if unlike me, you know what it is), and ginger.  Stir together and then add to the pooitjie.  Simmer for one hour.

Add the tomatoes and the potatoes on top of the meat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let simmer for yet another hour.

Add the carrots, pumpkin, and mushrooms.  Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the mixture.  Simmer for an hour.

If you can time it correctly (which is next to impossible for me), it's best to finish the project an hour before the meal so the dish has time to cool down.  Serve with rice.

In South Africa, there are special pooitjie pots that come in specific sizes depending on the crowd you want to feed.  You place the cast iron pooitjie pot over a coal or wood fire to cook.  This recipe for six should be made in a size 3 pot.  However, you can make it in a crock pot as long as you aren't in South Africa.

Now, if you make your pooitjie, what do you serve with it? One suggestion, which I really enjoyed while I was in Potchefstroom, is cornbread.  And, after a sufficient amount of guilt, I finally got the recipe from one of my painters.

Lynn's Cornbread
Potchefstroom, South Africa

2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup corn meal
3 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 can creamed sweet corn some grated cheese

Mix together and bake about 40 - 45 min at 180 C (I don't know in Fahrenheit).  You can also grate some cheese on top when baking is almost done.

(I did the necessary research for you.  180 C is 356 F.)