What’s cooking today: Marrow bone and beef shin potjie

What’s cooking today: Marrow bone and beef shin potjie
Tony Jackman’s bone marrow and beef shin potjie. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Beef and its marrow are obviously a natural fit. Add lots of garlic (a whole bulb in this case), coriander seeds, merlot and good beef stock and you’re in for a truly hearty shoulder season meal.

You won’t be chilled to the marrow while cooking this dish. Far from it; on a hot day (such as the 31℃ Saturday we enjoyed at the weekend) you’ll need a cold beer to cool you down while the wonderful things inside the potjie do their work.

Marrow is seen as a gourmet thing, like certain kinds of offal and controversial things such as foie gras. The rich, fatty taste is not for everyone, although anyone with a fair palate should be able to recognise that it lends a luscious flavour and finish to any dish it is a part of.

Chunks of bone marrow went into the potjie along with the meat that one of the bones had been at the centre of before the butcher separated them for me so that I could serve the marrow bones separately.

I added a palm full of crushed coriander seeds, half a bottle of merlot, and not much more: just salt and pepper, bay and some good beef stock. I had contemplated adding tomatoes too, but decided that I’d prefer to have the flavour of the marrow dominating the dish.

It made for a very satisfying meal.


Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 head of garlic, whole

A palm full of crushed coriander seeds

3 bay leaves

4 marrow bones, about 8 cm long, cut in half

2kg whole chunk of beef shin, with its bone cut out but retained

1 litre good beef stock (I used Nomu, diluted)

Half a bottle of Bruce Jack Merlot or similar

Black pepper

Kalahari smoked salt

(Serves 4 to 6)


Make a fire so that you have plenty of hot coals, and keep the fire going so that you have coals available for the entirety of the potjie cook.

Peel the onion and chop finely. Peel off only the outer skins of the whole garlic bulb, but leave the inner skins on the cloves. Leave the bulb whole.

When you have coals, put some under the potjie and pour a little olive oil in the pot.

When it’s hot, add the onion and whole head of garlic, the bay leaves and the crushed coriander seeds.

Simmer, stirring now and then, for a few minutes.

Add the marrow bones and the shin meat (whole) and turn with wooden spoons to coat everything.

In a large jug (about 1.5 litre), combine the stock, wine and black pepper and smoked salt to taste. Pour this over the contents of the potjie, and put the lid on.

Make sure everyone gets some of the garlic when serving. Good sides to serve with this would be mashed potato, polenta or rice, and perhaps some roasted vegetables. If you have an air fryer, don’t miss my air fryer roasted vegetables recipe to be published this Friday.

Also see my recipe for foil-wrapped mielies cooked on a hot potjie lid, published on Tuesday, for something to do while waiting for this to cook to perfection. 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.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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