Beef Cheek Potjie

March 11, 2021

This dish is one our favourite dishes at Gondwana as it is so full of flavour. It captures the richness of Africa and the fragrance of our landscape.

* A poitjie is a traditional South African black cast iron pot with 3 legs, that is used to cook on an open fire. For this recipe you can also replace the pot with a casserole cooked on a stove

You will need the following:

1kg beef cheeks (angus if possible)

1 head of garlic

3 large onions

30ml oil (not olive oil)

3 medium twigs of rosemary

500g whole baby potatoes

125g tomato paste

1 lemon

3 table spoons raw honey

2 bay leaves

500ml Pinotage (our favourite for this dish is Beyerskloof)

600ml beef stock

1 teaspoon smoked paprika


  1. Trim off 50% of the external fat from the beef cheeks. Then cut the cheek into 2cm cubes.
  2. Mix the beef cheeks and the smoked paprika and allow to rest in the fridge.
  3. Pre heat your potjie on the fire, while prepping your other ingredients.
  4. Clean onions and garlic. Finely slice the onions and chop your garlic.
  5. In your hot potjie add oil and onions. Sauté onions until caramelized.
  6. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add the beef cheeks and brown them with the onions and garlic.

Now this next part is very important to enhance the flavour of your dish…

  1. Once the beef cheeks have a nice colour and all the moisture is cooked away. Add the red wine. You want to leave the pot to do its thing at this point and reduce about 80% of the wine. This will increase your flavour.
  2. Once the wine is cooked away add your beef stock, whole baby potatoes, rosemary and the bay leaves and the tomato paste.
  3. Stir and make sure the potjie is well combined. Close it and leave to simmer for 3 hours over a low heat.
  4. After the 3 hours of slow undisturbed cooking season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Take the zest of the lemon and the honey add it to the pot for a well-rounded balance flavour.

This dish works well with wild rice or a fresh pot bread. Try to stay away from samp or mash as it might be too rich as a combination.