What’s cooking today: Spezzatino di manzo in a potjie

What’s cooking today: Spezzatino di manzo in a potjie
Tony Jackman’s spezzatino di manzo potjie. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Short rib is one of my favourite cuts of beef: it’s cheap and flavourful with superb texture, ideal for the art of the potjie and all the time and chilling that goes with that.

This recipe does have elements of what goes into a good old Beef Bourguignon (the beef, the bacon) but there’s no red wine or mushrooms, so ixnay that. In fact, this is based on the Italian stew Spezzatino di Manzo, has white wine and a strong beef stock, as well as sage, parsley and rosemary, and is finished with capers. Ideally, it should have pancetta, but in my small Karoo town, well, you know the story. So mine had bacon instead.


1.5 kg beef short rib, cut into thick chunks

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1 celery stick, diced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

250 ml dry white wine

1 x 400 g can whole Italian tomatoes

200 g pancetta or bacon, diced

1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

3 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped

3 rosemary sprigs

4 Tbsp olive oil

500 ml beef stock

2 heaped Tbsp capers, drained

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 heaped tsp flour mixed with cold water

Pasta of your choice, cooked and tossed in olive oil


Get plenty of hot coals ready (obviously) and have a clean potjie ready. Put some coals underneath, add the olive oil, then chuck in all of the chopped vegetables and pancetta or bacon bits, stir well, and let them sauté for 10 minutes or so.

Add the cubed beef short rib, stir, and let it simmer away for 20 minutes or so, uncovered, stirring now and then.

Blitz the contents of the can of tomatoes and add that, stir, then add the fresh herbs, dry white wine, beef stock and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and keep a few coals under the pot and on the lid while it cooks in a very chilled vibe for 2½ to 3 hours. Half an hour before it’s ready, stir in the capers and continue cooking. Fifteen minutes before it’s done, stir in the dissolved flour, cover and continue cooking. Serve with pasta tossed in a little olive oil. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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