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Ingredients for the potjie

– 2-3 kg free range Karoo lamb knuckles

– 1 onion – chopped

– 3-4 garlic cloves – crushed

– 2-3 leeks – sliced

– 2 tins good quality baby tomatoes

– 1 punnet fresh baby tomatoes – whole

– 300-500 ml organic beef stock (this gives the basic flavour to your potjie, so only the best will do)

– splash of red wine

– sweet basil – both dried and fresh

– oregano – dried

– salt and pepper to taste

– a handful grated pecorino or parmesan cheese

Method

Dust the lamb in seasoned flour, seal and brown in a three-legged potjie, scoop out and set aside. Chuck in the onion, garlic and leeks and fry until soft, then return the sealed lamb potjie, add the tomatoes and pour in the beef stock and a splash of red wine (it should cover about two thirds of the meat). Add the dried herbs, salt and pepper, give it one stir and put the lid on. Let your potjie simmer until the meat falls off the bones (anything from three to five hours, depending on the patience of your guests). While the potjie is on the go, make a potato gnocchi, unless you had the jitters and made it the night before.

 

Ingredients for the Gnocchi

 

– 1 kg potato (Mediterranean are great)

– 300g flour (same as you would use for homemade pasta)

– 2 egg yolks

– 1 teaspoon salt

Rule Number 1 when making gnocchi: Potatoes and water don’t get along, so bake the potatoes on a bed of coarse sea salt (skin and all). Once done, cut the potatoes in half and, using a spoon, scoop the fluffy insides into a mixing bowl.

Method

Put the potato through a Mouli (or just use a sieve) to mash it up nicely. And  now the nasty bit. You want the potato to be as hot as your hands can handle because it gets the gluten in the flour working. You might end up with fried fingers, but it’s essential.

Add the flour a little bit at a time, then the egg yolks and salt. Think of something that really grates you, and while keeping your hand as stiff as possible, mix the flour into the potato by jabbing (and swearing if you have to). What you’re looking for is a wettish but workable and pliable dough that almost sticks to your fingers. Once it’s mixed, roll it into sausage-like shapes (about 3 cm in diameter) and double wrap in cling film. To ensure it’s watertight, go the extra mile and tie the ends with string.

Poach in simmering water for 15 minutes, shock in a bowl of iced water, and put in the fridge until needed.

About 20 minutes before you’d like to eat, unwrap the gnocchi, slice into medallions, submerge in the potjie and leave to simmer and suck up all those juicy rich lamb and tomato flavours.

Serve with cracked black pepper and torn leaves of fresh basil and grate cheese to taste on top.

 


 

 

Africa Geographic Travel
Justin Bonello

Cook, traveller and lover of life, Justin Bonello is the veteran presenter and producer of Cooked – a television series aired on the BBC in which the first season saw him and a bunch of friends embark on an epic 30-day foodie road trip across South Africa. He is also a published author of 3 recipe books, with Out of the Frying Pan spinning a quirky Bonello touch on quintessentially South African dishes like bobotie. Now the self taught bush-cook is busy filming a new series where he looks at how our choices as a food consumer directly impact the people and our planet. This blog brings you the best of Justin’s recipes and travel tales, straight from the horses mouth.