Slow Days shared enjoying an Oxtail Potjie around the Fire Pit

Posted on Sat April 18, 2020.

The Summer Season 2019 leading into 2020 was a great one at Devonport House and we were privileged to welcome and host guests from all over the world. Occupancy was high and Cape Town marvelled and inspired all with what she has to offer.

Slow days arrived when on the 26 March 2020 , South Africa went in to lockdown due to COVID-19. Cancellations of bookings were the order of the day, and most certainly all people and business sectors have been and will continue to be hugely impacted.

Three international guests stayed on at Devonport House, until they were able to secure flights home. Their days were spent relaxing at the pool, exercising in the field and enjoying shared home cooked meals prepared by Jacques. Grant and Prudence, who are staying with us, have been deep cleaning the property, ensuring that the utmost highest hygiene standards are met and maintained. We are all eagerly preparing the home to welcome our future guests and visitors.

These times are unprecedented for all. We are however positive that in the near future the Hospitality sector will once again see our local and international visitors returning and showing their faith in what Cape Town and South Africa as a whole has to offer. 

Winter Special for June through August 2020 , for stays of 4 nights or longer, includes a South African Potjie , which is a stew made from either Chicken, Lamb or Beef ,and cooked in an iron pot over the open fire. This will be served on Tuesday and Friday evenings, weather permitting , shared around the open fire pit. 

This is the recipe Jacques used:

Oxtail and red wine potjie

Prep time

30 mins

Cook time

4 hours

Total time

4 hours 30 mins

A potjiekos is a traditional South African stew, slow cooked in a cast-iron pot over an open fire. This one combines the richness of oxtails and red wine to provide a delicious, hearty one-pot meal.

Author: Jeanne Horak-Druiff

Serves: 8-10


·         500gfresh oxtails (get your butcher to slice them into pieces in between the bones)

·         10 slices of bacon cut into 2.5cm pieces

·         ½ cup flour, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper

·         1 litre beef stock

·         115g tomato paste

·         1 bay leaf

·         6 black peppercorns

·         1 bouquet garni

·         4 large leeks, chopped coarsely

·         2 large onions, chopped coarsely

·         6 large carrots, 2chopped coarsely and 4 diced finely

·         20 button mushrooms, quartered

·         250ml red wine

·         2 tablespoons butter

·         2 tablespoons olive oil

·         2 tablespoons crushed garlic


1.    Wipe the oxtails dry with a paper towel.

2.    Put seasoned flour in a resealable plastic bag, then add the Oxtail and shake to coat with flour.

3.    Heat the butter and olive oil in the potjie (either over coals or gas) and sauté bacon pieces.

4.    Remove bacon, add the oxtail to the pot and brown in the bacon fat.  When each piece is browned all over, remove and drain on paper towels while keeping warm.

5.    Add the 4 finely diced carrots to the pot together with the chopped onions and the leeks, and sautée until softened.

6.    Return the oxtail and bacon to the pot and add the bouquet garni, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, tomato sauce, beef stock and red wine.

7.    Bring slowly to the boil (if you got this far on gas, now is the time to transfer it to the coals). Cover tightly with a lid and allow to cook undisturbed for 4 hours.

8.    One hour before serving, add the remaining carrots and mushrooms and continue cooking slowly, without stirring.

9.    If you want a thicker sauce, stir in some cornstarch mixed with cold water just before serving over rice or polenta (or mieliepap !)