WILD ABOUT HERBS
What’s cooking today: Blesbok & kapokbos potjie
Kapokbos is one of the karoobossie herbs that grow wild in many parts of the Karoo and is also known as wild rosemary, with which it shares flavour and aroma characteristics. It’s a good herb for lamb and for game.
Cooking with our wild Karoo herbs makes a lot of sense and gives slow food a new dimension. There’s a range of karoobossies, as they are collectively known, available commercially these days, and they’re an interesting range of ingredients to have in your store cupboard.
Bring them out for stews and roasts; anything that you might normally cook with rosemary or thyme.
You can buy dried kapokbos and other fynbos herbs from South African Fynbos. In certain parts of the Karoo you may find it growing on verges; just be sure that you know how to identify it.
Here’s a recipe for a slow potjie of blesbok with kapokbos.
1.5 kg blesbok (or other venison) meat, cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 litres cooking stock made of the following 4 ingredients:
1 x 400 ml can chopped tomatoes
1 litre beef stock
240 ml jerepigo
260 ml dry red wine
4 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
200 g bacon, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
3 kapokbos sprigs
3 pinches Maldon smoked sea salt
2 pinches black peppercorns
Prepare a fire for the potjie and be sure you have a steady supply of coals to last three hours.
In a 2-litre jug or large bowl, mix one 400 ml can of chopped tomatoes with 1 litre beef stock, 240 ml jerepigo and 260 ml red wine. Add the bay leaves to the stock and season it with smoked sea salt and pepper. Take the jug out to the potjie and keep it to one side.
Cube the venison (after deboning, if necessary). Peel and chop the onion and garlic.
Place hot coals under the potjie and add the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook at a simmer, stirring now and then, for about 5 minutes.
Add the cubed meat, carrots and bacon and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring now and then.
Pour in the stock and add the kapokbos sprigs. Bring to a boil after adding more coals underneath the potjie.
Put the lid on, add a few coals to the lid, and keep on cooking for up to three hours at a slow, steady heat. Top up the coals as needed as you go. Eat with my begrafnisrys. DM
Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.