What’s cooking today: Prawn & calamari potjie

What’s cooking today: Prawn & calamari potjie
Tony Jackman’s calamari and prawn potjie. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A midwinter potjie can be a very pleasant thing, so coat up, muffle up, get the coals ready and make this calamari and prawn potjie.

Key to this recipe is that the calamari, once in the burbling potjie, needs at the very least half an hour to become tender, but I would take it up to 45 minutes or even an hour. Only when the calamari is tender do you need to add the prawns, which do not take long at all to cook. Serve it with this column.


800 g frozen calamari rings, defrosted

800g prawns, legs snipped off, deveined, heads removed (don’t discard them)

2 large onions for the mirepoix, finely chopped, and 1 more

2 large carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

3 Tbsp butter

500 ml water

3 leeks, washed and sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

A handful of fennel fronds, chopped

The peel of an orange

1 red chilli, finely chopped

500 ml dry white wine

100 g tomato paste

A pinch of saffron

Salt and pepper to taste

A handful of parsley, chopped

Garlic bread or rice for serving


Start by making a mirepoix – an aromatic flavour base on which to build the dish – of two large onions, two carrots and two celery sticks. This means finely dicing the vegetables and then sweating them slowly in a pot in a little butter until softened.

Now turn it into a prawn head stock: Add the heads of the prawns you’re using to make the potjie. Add 1 litre of cold water and bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Cook on a moderate heat until reduced by half. Strain it into a jug.

Sauté 1 large chopped onion and 3 sliced leeks in olive oil in a potjie with 3 cloves garlic and a handful of chopped fennel fronds. Add the chilli and two long strips of orange peel with as little pith as possible. Add 500ml dry white wine, cover and simmer. Reduce, without the potjie lid on, until there’s hardly any liquid left and the wine has concentrated to a delicious stickiness.

Stir 100g tomato paste and a generous pinch of saffron strands into the fish stock you made earlier. Add it to the potjie and bring it to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the calamari rings and simmer for at least 30 minutes to an hour or until the calamari is tender.

Only when you’re satisfied that the calamari is tender, add the prawns in their shells and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Serve with rice or garlic bread, or both. 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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