South African Recipes

South African Oxtail Potjie Recipe: History, Tips & More

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Hello, food lovers! Today, we’re diving into the flavoursome world of traditional South African cuisine with a classic dish, the Oxtail Potjie. This hearty, slow-cooked stew is a bona fide crowd-pleaser and perfect for any occasion.

oxtail potjie

Oxtail Potjie Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • Potjie Pot (or a Dutch oven as an alternative)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp knife


  • 1.2 kg Oxtail cut into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 2 medium Onions chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 Carrots sliced
  • 2 Potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup Green Beans trimmed
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 500 ml Beef Stock
  • 1 cup Red Wine
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme


  • Heat the sunflower oil in your potjie pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat.
  • Add in the oxtail pieces and brown them on all sides. You may need to do this in batches to ensure each piece gets a nice sear. Once browned, remove the oxtail from the pot and set aside.
  • In the same pot, add the onions and garlic, sautéing them until they become soft and fragrant.
  • Return the browned oxtail to the pot, then add in the beef stock, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and dried thyme.
  • Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Allow the oxtail to simmer for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent the oxtail from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • After 3 hours, add in the carrots, potatoes, and green beans. Season with salt and pepper, then give everything a good stir.
  • Cover the pot again and let it simmer for another hour, or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Adjust the seasoning if necessary, then serve your oxtail potjie piping hot, ideally with a side of steamed rice or fresh bread.

oxtail potjie

Oxtail Potjie History

The roots of the Oxtail Potjie are nestled deep within South African culture, and it’s a stellar example of “potjiekos” cooking. “Potjiekos” combines two Afrikaans words, “potjie” (little pot) and “kos” (food), which perfectly describe this method of slow-cooking food in a small pot over an open fire. Oxtail, a once-overlooked cut of beef, became a key ingredient in this style of cooking for its ability to stay succulent over the long cooking period. Remember, this interpretation is largely based on popular beliefs as the precise origins remain undocumented.

Tips & Tricks

Mastering the art of Potjie cooking is a journey. Firstly, don’t rush – good potjie is all about patience! Ensure all the oxtail pieces get a good sear for maximum flavour. Secondly, remember to layer your ingredients in the pot; it helps combine the flavours without stirring. Lastly, always keep a lekker South African attitude and enjoy the process!

Best Occasions to Serve Oxtail Potjie

Oxtail Potjie is a celebration dish perfect for communal gatherings. The laid-back cooking process lends itself to lazy weekend braais or family reunions. Enjoy it in winter when its warm, hearty flavours can truly shine. Regardless of the event, Oxtail Potjie is always a hit!

Recipes & Sides That Go Well With Oxtail Potjie

  • Steamed Rice: The perfect base to absorb all that mouth-watering gravy.
  • Potbrood: Ideal for mopping up any leftover sauce!
  • Chakalaka: A traditional spicy relish that adds a kick.

Ingredient Alternatives for Oxtail Potjie

Beef Stew Meat: If oxtail is not available, hearty beef chunks work too.
Olive Oil: An alternative to sunflower oil.

Nutritional Facts

For a four-person portion of Oxtail Potjie:

Calories: 800
Carbs: 24g
Sugar: 4g
Fats: 40g
Protein: 80g
Fibre: 5g
Though rich and filling, Oxtail Potjie offers a good amount of protein. However, be mindful of its high fat content.

Troubleshooting (Common Problems)

  • Oxtail not tender enough: Ensure you cook it long enough. Patience yields succulent meat.
  • Too much liquid: Resist the urge to stir too much. Let it simmer naturally.

Oxtail Potjie Alternatives and Similar Recipes

  • Chicken Potjie: Replace the oxtail with chicken for a lighter version.
  • Lamb Potjie: For a different taste, use lamb instead.
  • Vegetable Potjie: For vegetarians, omit the meat and add more veggies.

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