Vickie de Beer’s Seafood potjie with Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay
photograph Charles Russell
With autumn nudging summer out of the way, now’s the time for more leisurely outdoor cooking, sitting around a low fire and chatting over a glass of wine as the dish takes shape. So, get your potjie out for a delightful seafood dish inspired by the bountiful West Coast.
Rustic yet sophisticated, potjiekos falls in the category of slow food prepared in the individual style of the chef. With a meat potjie, the protein goes in first and simmers slowly until it virtually falls off the bone but for a seafood potjie it’s the other way round. First let all the other ingredients cook through and their flavours infuse and only then add the fish for just a few minutes.
A seafood potjie calls for a beautifully chilled white wine that’s sufficiently versatile to be enjoyed on its own while the fire is burning down but that can also stand up to the myriad flavours in the pot. A Chardonnay is a great choice, especially the one from Drostdy-Hof, with its rich, smooth and creamy texture with lovely tropical and citrus notes.
The new-look Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay sells for around R35 a bottle and is available at most liquor stores countrywide.
Vickie de Beer’s Seafood Potjie, with Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay
Serves 4 to 6
250 ml Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay
450 g mixed shellfish such as mussels and prawns, cleaned
Salt and ground black pepper
15 ml olive oil
2 onions, cubed
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
30 ml flour
250 ml vegetable or chicken stock
Bouquet garni: 6 parsley stalks, 2 thyme stalks and 2 bay leaves tied with kitchen string
500 g baby potatoes
675 g white fish, deboned and filleted
250 ml milk
250 ml cream
Handful of chopped parsley or chives
Make a fire and add enough wood to ensure that in the end there are enough coals to cook the potjie.
In a medium-sized cast-iron potjie, bring 125 ml of the Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay to a simmer. Place the mussels and prawns in the liquid. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. The prawns are cooked when they have turned pink. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Remove from the potjie and retain the liquid for later.
Heat the oil in the potjie and lightly fry the onion, celery, fennel and garlic until soft. Stir in the flour and fry for 3 minutes. Slowly add the remaining 125 ml of wine while stirring. Bring to a simmer.
Add the stock, bouquet garni and baby potatoes. Season with salt and black pepper.
As soon as the potatoes are soft add the fish, milk and cream. Simmer for 5 minutes and return the shellfish and reserved fluid to the pot. Stir to combine.
Bring back up to a simmer and remove from the heat. Season to taste and add the chopped parsley. Serve with warm crusty bread and a glass of chilled Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay.
Information from De Kock Communications