The battle of the potjies

2012-11-14 00:00

THE opening shot was fired in the Battle of the Potjies, when the first wrought-iron pot was slammed firmly shut.

But soon enticing aromas wafting across the valley at the MOTHS Retief Shellhole in Melmoth were a reminder that this was peacetime, and thoughts turned to winning the war against tough meat.

The weekend fundraiser saw 12 contestants vying to woo the four judges with the winning dish, and the full repertoire of beef, lamb and chicken got the African-cuisine treatment. Short rib, sheep shank, oxtail and even a biltong dish were prepared.

Defending champion Morné Swanepoel, a local magistrate, proved his lamb potjie was unbeatable, as he took first prize for the second year running.

His secret, he says, is using the best ingredients. He buys the lamb directly from a farm in Vryheid. His recipe? Simple: Add a few herbs and vegetables, and simmer for several hours.

Local is lekker and an international panel gave the thumbs up. Visitors Babbee Camarista (born in the Philippines, but visiting from Abu Dhabi) and Lala Pinto from Madeira, joined local caterers Christina Hughes and Heleen Greeff to select the winners.

Behind Swanepoel, the Shellhole’s Old Bill, Ben Pienaar, took second place with his beef-shin potjie, while Frans Kay’s oxtail took third place.

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