Potjiekos is a South African slow-cooked, stew-like dish cooked over a fire in a potjie. I say stew-like because potjiekos is not really a stew, its cooked with very little liquid and it is not stirred.
Potjie translates to ‘small food pot’ and is traditionally a three-legged cast iron pot. It’s similar to the cast iron camp ovens we use in Australia which you could use in a pinch.
There’s a common theme here… a lot of South African food is cooked and eaten outside (and traditionally involves fire). Although there are a stack of YouTube clips where the cook is using a gas bottle with an attachment for the potjie.
Preparing a fire for a potjie is a labour of love and requires patience. It needs to be an old fire with lots of coals so the potjie can cook low and slow for several hours. Gas is definitely faster and more controlled but I think the smoke adds a little something special (that and I love being able to light fires in my backyard!).