Paddock to Plate: A Highland Stew

Whilst James and I are camping at the new place our cooking facilities are somewhat limited. There is a basic kitchen in the cottage that has a sink, fridge, small workspace and some age old rusted cooker that frankly I don’t trust. This room is on the renovation list and in the meantime we have been enjoying some scrumptious barbecues.

A rustic BBQ

We brought down our Weberq – a fantastic small gas barbecue that has never let us down, and have also been using a basic wood fired BBQ that was left here. With a few simple cooking utensils we have enjoyed some lovely meals other than just sausages and steak. Not that the sausages are bad mind you.. 28 day aged highland beef makes a mighty fine snag!

Let sleeping dogs lie – Deva and Basil curled up in front of the gas BBQ

The last meal we tucked into was a simple but hearty stew made using stewing beef from Adam, the highland we had butchered last year. It was cooked over a wood fire using what I call the small cauldron.

Warming the pot on the fire

Apparently the correct name is a potjie and it is a South African cast iron cooking pot used for making potjiekos or “pot food” ( James found them fascinating and brought a few back from Namibia when he was working there.

So for our second paddock to plate post, here’s what we threw into the pot.

Aged Highland stewing beef cut into roughly 2cm cubes
Potatoes, cut to a similar size
Tomatoes (we used whole and tinned, including a tomato medley punnet and some vine ripened ones)
Tomato paste
Brown onion, chopped finely
Garlic, chopped finely
Mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
A bottle of dark beer (we had a Carlton Black to hand but I suspect a stout would have gone a little better. Or even red wine)
Olive oil

1. Heat up the potjie over a fire, add some olive oil and brown the beef. Once browned remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Add onions and garlic to the pot and cook until softened.
3. Add the beef back to the pot along with all remaining ingredients. Cover using the potjie lid and allow to cook for 3-4 hours over a slow flame.
4. Stew should be ready when the meat is tender and the tomatoes have cooked down to form a thick sauce.

Yum beef!

Browning the beef

The result was a dark, tender and tasty meal in itself that warmed us through and helped restock the energy spent renovating the cottage. We accompanied the stew with a crusty loaf and a bottle of Shiraz. There was a lot left over so we ended up freezing half and enjoying this a second time.

– Rachael


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