What’s cooking today: Potjie-braised leg of mutton
I’ve been experimenting with roasting meat in a potjie since early lockdown. This one is more of a pot roast, with sun dried tomatoes and little pickling onions, a handful of sweet spices and my old standby of a cheeky splash of nagmaalwyn.
The first time I roasted something in a potjie was a whole chicken. It was such a success that I’ve done that a few ways since then, including my ginger roasted chicken in a potjie.
The other day I considered lamb; shanks in a potjie is of course a splendid thing. But then I spotted a small leg of mutton (technically, a part of a leg, obviously) and thought why not. Mutton, being from the older animal, needs plenty of time, so slow potjie cooking makes perfect sense.
3 Tbsp olive oil
1.6 kg leg of mutton
500 ml lamb or beef stock
2 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground fennel
1 piece of cassia bark
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
⅓ cup brown grape vinegar
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste
16 pickling onions, blanched and skins removed
16 sun dried tomatoes
Another cup of lamb or beef stock
½ cup nagmaalwyn or other fortified wine
1 Tbsp cornflour dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp hot English mustard
It goes without saying that you need to have a fire going with coals at hand and a clean potjie ready for your efforts.
Season the meat with salt. Put some coals under the potjie, pour in a little olive oil and, when it’s hot, brown the mutton leg on all sides.
Stir the spices into the stock and add the cassia bark, bay leaves, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and chopped garlic. Season with salt and black pepper.
Pour the contents of the jug into the potjie, put the lid on, check the coals and put a few on the lid, and let it cook until it starts simmering, then let it simmer, lid on, for an hour.
Take the lid off, check that it is moist enough (moisten with more stock if not), and add the pickling onions and sun dried tomato. Leave it to cook, checking the coals regularly and keeping your fire going nearby, until the meat is tender. Check every now and then that the liquid has not cooked away.
When the meat is tender, remove it and the baby onions and tomatoes to a board or platter and add the stock to the potjie. Stir well, then strain it into a saucepan.
On the stove top, bring it to the boil and add the nagmaalwyn. Stir in the mustard and simmer for five minutes or more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the dissolved cornflour and simmer, stirring, until it thickens. Serve with slices of meat and the tomatoes and onions alongside. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
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