The Short Story of a Large Pot
by Kathy and Bruce Jacobs
The story of our potjie and a great recipe to use in this wonderful, large, cast iron pot: Two Stew for a Crew!
During the winter of 2001, my husband and I were wandering the local Renaissance Fair and saw the most wonderful piece of cast iron imaginable. It was a cast iron pot with a lid, which stood on three legs. Oh, and did I mention that the thing stood about knee high and held about twice as much as a large Dutch Oven? Bruce fell in love at once.
Since we both were intrigued, we did some research on the web and found out the following:
- The pot is named potjie, which is pronounced "pojke" or "potke".
- The pot is a traditional African utensil used for stews, soups, and casseroles.
- Many firms on the net sell the potjies, some here in the US and some from South Africa.
- The potjies come in a variety of sizes. The smallest potjie we have seen just barely fits a small floating candle, and is intended for decorative purposes. The largest ones hold over 15 quarts of food/water.
- The larger the pot the more the shipping, as the cooking potjies are heavy!
After our research, we went ahead and ordered one from one of the net companies. Ours is an 8 quart potjie, and cost about $75US plus shipping. The particular company you order from doesn't matter, as most of them get the pots from the same original manufacturer. However, be sure that the company that you order your pot from delivers to where you live. Because of shipping costs, most retailers only ship to areas around them.
We have used the potjie several times. Class members really enjoy seeing this piece of equipment in use. The most popular of the recipes we have tried is the Two Stew recipe at the end of this article. If you have a lot of time, it also seems to work well for boiling water for dishes.
Two Stew for a Crew
- 2 lb Ground Beef
- 2 medium Onions, diced
- Chopped Garlic, 8 to 10 cloves or to taste
- 2 Potatoes, cubed
- 2 cans Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup
- 2 cans Corn
- Salt, pepper, cajun spice, and other spices as desired
- Start a fire, either wood or charcoal, in a fire pit or fire pan.
- When coals are hot, stand potjie over coals to pre-heat.
- Brown meat, garlic and onions in a fry pan. Dump in potjie.
- Add corn (do not drain), soup, and potatoes.
- Season with salt, pepper, and spices as desired.
- Cover and cook until potatoes are done. Time to heat will depend on the heat from your fire/coals and the outside temperature.
- Serve hot. Leftovers (if there are any) reheat fairly easily.
Two stew can also be done in Dutch Ovens. Because of the amount of food in the recipe, it will easily fill two 10" Dutch ovens or one 14" oven. If making in the Dutch Ovens, brown the hamburger in the bottom of one of the Dutch Ovens, then add the rest of the ingredients. Do not use liner pans unless you have very large, deep pans.