Venison Potjie Stew

Venison Potjie Stew is a South African dish with a slight twist. The stew is prepared over coals in an cast iron pot (potjie) or little pot but unlike a traditional potjiekos which is usually prepared for 2 to 3 hours following some more or less strict rules this one was done in about an hours time.

Apart from the time difference to prepare a proper potjiekos or "little pot food" it is as well generally not permitted to ever stir the potjiekos till it is fully cooked. But I tell you more in depth information about the do's and don'ts of potjiekos preparing soon, so keep an eye open. 

The potjie / cast iron pots with three legs came to South Africa with the Dutch settlers in the midst of the 17th century and cooking in those pots is still very popular in the country to this day.

Preparation time: 30 minutes 
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: 90 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard


Serves 4

Venison Potjie Stew

  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil 
  • 500 grams / 1.1 pounds venison cut into bite sized chunks
  • 8 small onions
  • 2 carrots washed, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 5 cloves of garlic (or to taste), crushed
  • 5 sticks soup celery without leaves, finely chopped
  • 5 cups mutton stock (optional use beef stock instead)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 3 tsp. plain paprika powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 3 green cardamon pods, crushed open
  • 1 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. (or to taste) black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/8 tsp. Carolina Reaper chili powder
  • 5 medium sized potatoes, cut into 8 pieces each
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into dice
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup diced pineapple
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 5 baby leeks, washed
  • 3 handfuls fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 handfuls fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 handfuls fresh savory leaves


  • Prepare enough wood coals to last for at least one hour and keep 2 to 3 nice logs that are slowly burning on the side for possibly needed extra coals
  • Use a spate or something similar to move some of the coals to one side of your fireplace and keep other coals together in a pile for later use 
  • Place potjie over the coals and add the oil
  • Let oil heat up for 2 to 3 minutes
  • Add the venison and sear on all sides for just 4 to 5 minutes to seal it, stirring a few times
  • Add onions and fry them together with the book for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly
  • Add carrots and garlic and cook all for another 5 minutes, stirring once  

Add peppers, potatoes, corn kernels, cardamon, clove, bay leaves, all the spices and half the stock, stir and bring to the gentle boil, cover with lid and let the venison stew simmer for 25 minutes 

Add leaks, herbs, broccoli and more stock if needed, cover with lid and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time.

Take potjie of the heat and serve the venison potjie stew hot with slices of freshly toasted bread.

NOTE: During the cooking process you might need to move or remove some of the coals to get the stew to just the right temperature - You want it ideally just gently cooking!  

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History of Potjiekos

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