He’s the man behind our National Braai Day initiative. Now try Jan Braai‘s Katemba Potjie recipe…
- 1.5 kg chuck steak (deboned and in cubes)
- 1 tot olive oil
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 tot paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 tot tomato paste
- 1 cup Coke
- 1 cup red wine
- sour cream (optional, for serving; a tub/cup is more than enough)
- fresh bread (for serving)
- fresh chopped herbs (for serving, basil/parsley/rocket/coriander will all do the trick)
- Heat the oil in a potjie and fry half of the meat for a minute or two. You literally just want to sear each piece a bit. You don’t need to cook the meat, nor sear it on all sides. Remove the meat from the potjie and repeat with the other half. When the second batch is done, all the meat can be put aside in a covered bowl or plate for reintroduction to the meal later on.
- Fry the onions in the potjie for about 4 minutes until they start to soften, then throw in the garlic. Onions take longer to cook than garlic, so always fry onions before adding the garlic. Add to the potjie all the seared beef cubes from step 1, the paprika, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Toss everything around for a minute. Now add the tomatoes, tomato paste, Coke and red wine, and mix to combine them all. Bring to the boil and then simmer over low coals. You want a very gentle simmer. Ideally you want it to bubble very gently for 1 hour – at that point remove the lid and let it continue to simmer until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce. This might take another 30 minutes. Keep in mind that as soon as you think the sauce is thick enough, the meal is ready to serve. If your fire is very hot or the lid of your potjie does not fit very well, this might happen sooner rather than later so pay close attention. If you’re in a hurry, add more heat to the bottom of the potjie to make it boil more rapidly and reduce quicker. Whenever you are happy with the sauce, take the potjie off the fire and let it stand for a few minutes.
- Serve with chunks of fresh bread toasted on the fire and dollops of sour cream. If you have something fresh like parsley, basil, rocket or coriander growing in the garden, garnish with that. AND… I like to enjoy this meal with a glass of red wine, but naturally this potjie can also be served with red wine … and Coke!
Notes from the chef: In Southern Africa, especially in our neighbouring country of Namibia, there exists a strange yet common habit of mixing red wine with Coke and drinking that for pleasure. It’s called katemba and this phenomenon can also be experienced in other countries with similar climates to that of Namibia like Spain where it’s called kalimotxo.
While you may frown upon this at first, the fact of the matter is that this is a flavour combination that works very well, especially in a potjie with the meat Namibia is famous for, beef! I like to use a cut like chuck steak for this meal as it has a lot of flavour, can stand up to cooking for a while, and the intramuscular fat means the meat does not dry out too much. For me a cut like rump becomes too dry. You could use oxtail very successfully here, but in that case you need to increase the gentle simmer time to 5 hours.
Recipe by Jan Braai – The Democratic Republic of Braai
Photograph by Matthys van Lill