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What’s cooking today: Rosemary-butter mielies on a potjie lid

What’s cooking today: Rosemary-butter mielies on a potjie lid
Tony Jackman’s rosemary mielies cooked in foil on a hot potjie lid. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Fresh rosemary adds a superb herbiness to the sweet kernels on a cob of corn. Butter always enhances a mielie, as every South African knows, and a bit of deft seasoning goes a long way.

No, they’re not cooked in a potjie. These whole mielies are wrapped in foil that has been smeared with butter and seasoned. Then, rosemary sprigs are added, they’re wrapped up, and they cook until tender on a hot potjie lid.

The idea seemed so obvious when it struck me the other day that I wondered why it had taken me so long to try it out. You can even keep a few hot coals on the lid, in between the foil-wrapped mielies.

I don’t remember ever cooking corn on the cob with fresh rosemary sprigs before, but boy did that rosemary flavour match the natural taste of the corn kernels. Magic. So have a go with this one when next you cook a slow potjie dish, and I’d be surprised if it did not become a regular recipe in your braai arsenal.

The number of mielies you cook is, of course, dependent on the size of your pot and its lid. Four fitted comfortably on mine and there was space for two more. And you could do them in batches, given how long a meat potjie cooks for (often three to four hours).

Ingredients

Mielies

Butter

Smoked salt

Black pepper

Rosemary sprigs (2 or 3 per mielie)

Rectangles of aluminium foil

Method

A visual how-to for preparing the mielies. (Photos: Tony Jackman)

Peel off the husks and corn silk threads of the mielies. (That’s what those delicate strings are called btw: corn silk.)

Cut out rectangles of foil big enough to wrap the mielies in, individually.

Smear the top side of the foil sheet generously with butter.

Season the butter with smoked salt and black pepper.

Lay out 2 or 3 long rosemary sprigs.

Place a mielie down top to bottom and roll it this way and that in the seasoned butter to be sure it is coated.

Wrap them up tightly, making sure that the rosemary sprigs touch the mielie flesh to infuse their flavour into them.

Once your potjie is well on the way, put them on the hot lid to cook for about half an hour. Turn occasionally so that all sides are cooked. Use a glove; they’ll be excessively hot. Add a few hot coals between them if you like to ensure the lid stays very hot.

Repeat if doing a large number. Keep the cooked ones warm, at the edge of the braai or in a warmer drawer or very low oven. Don’t unwrap them until it’s time to eat.

Come back here tomorrow for the recipe for the bone marrow and beef shin potjie I was making when these were on the potjie lid. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

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