South African Oxtail Potjie

South African Potjie Bowl Close

Sometimes dishes are named after people. But other times the pot makes the meal. In the case of dishes like potjie, tangine and cassoulet the pot makes the meal. These vessels lead to the creation of wonderfully cooked dishes. Like this South African Oxtail Potjie.

So, technically it’s not a potjie because I didn’t cook it in a potjie. A potjie is a three legged pot and Traditionally, this dish would be cooked in a potjie over an open

 fire. Think of it like a dutch oven with legs. But I don’t have a potjie and I’m not lighting any fires. On the other hand, I do have a cast-iron.



And no worries if you’ve never made oxtails before. It’s delicious. Very reminiscent of short ribs. Another reason this dish is so delicious is because it has so many layers of flavors.

Now, if you’re had caribbean oxtail stew or southern oxtails get your mind right because the flavors in this dish are different. The European influence with the addition of the red wine and the tomato paste. Verses a Jamaican oxtail stew where you might use soy sauce and ginger.

Now that that’s all cleared up. Let’s get to cooking.

South African Oxtail Potjie

Makes 8 servings


  • 3 pounds oxtails
  • 1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 large leeks, sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pounds potatoes, quartered
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 to 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves

Tools: dutch oven

South African Oxtail Potjie Ingredients


Rinse oxtails and dry with a paper towel.

Season oxtails with flour.

Heat butter in dutch oven and brown oxtails in butter.

Once browned remove from pot.

Add onions, carrots, leeks, and  mushrooms.

Stir gently and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add tomato paste, wine, broth, bay leaves and herbs and bring to a boil.

South African Potjie in Pot

Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 4 hours.

If you’d like a thicker gravy remove some broth and add a tablespoon of cornstarch.

Then add cornstarch slurry to oxtails.

South African Potjie Bowl Close

And it’s done. I served my oxtails with rice and a salad.

If you try this recipe, I’d love to know. Leave me a comment or take a picture and tag it #elskitchencmfrt on Twitter or @els.kitchencomforts on Instagram. I’m excited to see what you cook up.



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