International Recipe: South African Oxtail Potjie


In celebration of the recent launch of our South African epic 14-night adventure, we want to allow you to bring a taste of this beautiful country into your home. Whether you’ve already booked your place and want to try some of the food before you visit, or just want to get a flavour of what South Africa has to offer, then this recipe is perfect for you!

A South African potjiekos is a tasty meal that is all prepared in one pot and somewhat resembles a stew. Potjiekos can be translated as ‘small-pot food’, and the meal is typically cooked in a cast iron pot which is placed directly onto the heat source, such as a fire or coals. Because of the design of the pot, meals are typically slow-cooked, allowing the spices and flavours to soak into the meat and vegetables.

Much like a traditional stew, there is very little maintenance required, and once the hard work is done at the start, such as the chopping and preparing of veg and meat, cooking requires little interference.

For this recipe, we’ll be using oxtail, which is a rich and flavoursome meat, perfect for slow cooking. Ask your butcher to cut the meat into small sections between the bones of the tail so that it is easier to cook and serve.


500g fresh oxtail
½ cup flour, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper
Ten rashers of bacon cut into small pieces
Two tablespoons butter
Two tablespoons olive oil
One litre beef stock
Four large leeks, chopped coarsely
Two large onions, chopped coarsely
Six large carrots, 2chopped coarsely and 4 diced finely
20 button mushrooms, quartered
115g tomato paste
One bay leaf
Six black peppercorns
One bouquet garni
250ml red wine
Two tablespoons of crushed garlic


Begin by wiping the oxtail pieces with a paper towel to remove any excess blood or liquid. Pour the seasoned flour into a sealable bag, like a large sandwich bag and add the oxtail into the mix, while shaking to ensure the meat has been coated.

Next, heat the butter and olive oil in the pot, either over coals or using gas heat. Once hot, add in the bacon pieces to saute. Once finished, remove the bacon pieces, setting aside for adding again later. Add in the oxtail and brown the meat using the bacon fat along with the oil and butter. After each piece has been browned all over, take them out and allow them to rest on paper towels, while keeping warm.

Into the empty pot, add the four finely diced carrots along with the chopped onions and leeks, sauteing until softened. Add back in the bacon and oxtail, along with the bay leaf, peppercorns, tomato sauce, garlic, red wine, beef stock and bouquet garni.

Bring the mix slowly to the boil. Ideally, at this stage, we’d suggest transferring the pot to coals to cook the remainder of the way. You should then tightly attach the lid and leave the food to cook for roughly four hours, without interruption. An hour before serving, add in the rest of the carrots and mushrooms and continue cooking, again without stirring. You can serve this dish with rice or polenta for a tasty and filling home-cooked meal.

For more tasty recipes, check out our blog here! For a real taste of South Africa, check out our newest addition to the Untravelled Paths catalogue, the epic 14-night South Africa experience! We also have a range of other adventures, such as the Transylvania experience, husky experience and desert experience.

Read more from our blog here