Layering ingredients in a potjie is an essential part of the traditional South African cooking method. The layering technique ensures that the ingredients cook evenly inside your Best Duty potjie, intensify the flavours and meld together beautifully and reduce the need to stir often!
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to layer ingredients in your Best Duty potjie:
Before you can make your famous potjiekos and spoil your family and friends’ taste buds, you’ll need a Best Duty potjie that suits your needs perfectly! Choose the appropriate size for the number of servings you want to make and a source of heat, such as an open fire or a stove with a flat-bottomed Bake Pot.
The ultimate potjie companion when it comes to layering your potjie is the potjie circulator! The Potjie Circulator will make the layering and cooking process a breeze as it circulates the liquid inside your potjie pot, which reduces cooking time, prevents burning and enhances the flavour of your food.
Did you know?
You can determine how many servings your potjie can accommodate by multiplying the outside rings by the size of your pot.
For example, the Best Duty #3 pot has four rings on the outside and can therefore hold 12 servings
The Layering Process:
1. Preparing the Potjie: If you’re using a new cast iron potjie, it’s essential to season it first by coating it with oil and heating it over low heat for about an hour.
Learn to season your potjie like a pro here
If your potjie is well-seasoned or made from an enamel coating, you are more than welcome to skip this step.
2. Heat the Pot: Place the potjie over your heat source, it could be an open fire or stove and adjust the heat to medium.
3. Add Oil: Begin by adding a small amount of oil to your potjie. This can be olive oil, vegetable oil or even some bacon fat. This step helps prevent sticking and adds flavour to your potjie.
4. Layer the Meat: The first layer will always be your meat as it takes the longest to cook through. Braise your meat for +- 10 minutes in the potjie and remove it. If you’re using your Potjie Circulator, you can now place it in the centre of the potjie and arrange the meat around it. Pour your delicious sauce/gravy over the meat. (Make sure that there is nothing underneath the circulator except sauce/ gravy that can circulate/percolate.)
5. Vegetable Layer: Next, add a layer of vegetables over the meat in any order of your choice. This can include onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers and any other vegetables you prefer. The vegetables will release moisture as they cook, adding to the richness of the potjie.
6. Spices and Seasoning: Sprinkle your preferred spices and seasonings over the vegetable layer. You can use a mix of herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
7. Liquid Layer: Once all the layers are in place, pour in the liquid (broth, wine or water) to cover about two-thirds of the ingredients inside of your Best Duty pot. As the heat rises, the pressure between the potjie’s bottom and the Potjie Circulator rises. The liquid is forced up the stem and is then percolated through the hole at the top. This cooks, flavours and tenderizes the meat and vegetables during the cooking process giving it a delicious texture and taste. The liquid will create steam, which aids in the cooking process.
8. Bring to a Simmer: Place the lid on the potjie to cover it and bring it to a slow simmer. If you’re using an open fire, you may need to adjust the heat by moving your potjie closer or further from the coals.
9. Serve and Enjoy: Once everything is cooked to perfection, serve your potjie directly from the pot and enjoy it with your family and friends.
Remember, the key to successful layering is ensuring that ingredients that take longer to cook are placed at the bottom, closer to the heat source, while those that cook faster are layered on top. This technique helps achieve tender meat, well-cooked vegetables and a harmonious blend of flavours in your Best Duty potjie. Enjoy the process and the delicious results!