Carmen Niehaus’s Seafood Potjie with Pot Bread

For most of us a seafood potjie is synonym with laid back summer holidays near the coast. Interestingly I tasted this wonderful seafood pot the first time during our annual winter visit to my beloved country, Namibia. Admittedly, it was near the sea — the picturesque Swakopmund it was. Each time we hit the road through the dessert to the coast my heart is pounding with excitement as I know behind this sea of sand the cosy sidewalks, interesting cafés and seafood eateries close to the beach are waiting.

I received the original recipe for this pot from the well-known Namibian foodie, Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt, The pot can be very basic made with just a marinara seafood mix or you can go all out and add fresh mussels and prawns.

A freshly baked pot bread or stir-fried rice will seal the deal especially when enjoyed with a glass of ice-cold Six Hats Sauvignon Blanc, or Six Hats de-alcoholised White Blend (even a shot or two added to the pot will do no harm).

The Six Hats Sauvignon Blanc and Six Hats de-alcoholised White Blend are both crisp and vibrant wines with an elegant balance of tropical fruit flavours and minerality, not only making it a perfect wine to enjoy with a summer lunch, but also the ideal wine to pair with seafood and pasta dishes.

Serves 6—8

60 ml (1/4 c) olive oil
2 onions, quartered
1 each red, yellow and green sweet pepper, de-cored and cut into chunks
3 celery stalks, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
10 ml (2 t) paprika
5 ml (1 t) cumin seeds (optional)
500 ml (2 c) vegetable stock
500 ml (2 k) white wine
1 can (400 g) chopped tomatoes
50 g tomato paste
15–30 ml (1–2 t) sugar
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
Good shot soy sauce
2 kg seafood mix (marinara)
1 kg fresh whole mussels, shells scrubbed
6-8 prawns (optional)

GREMOLATA
30 ml (2 T) each chopped parsley and basil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
15 ml (1 T) grated lemon rind

1. Heat the oil in a large pan or pot and fry the vegetables till just done and still crisp.
2. Stir in the paprika and cumin. Add the stock and wine as well as the tomatoes tomato paste and sugar. Bring to the boil, then cook over lower heat till a flavoursome sauce is formed, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the lemon rind and juice, also stir in the soy sauce.
4. Add all the seafood except the prawns and cook till the seafood are just done and still intact. The shells of the mussels must open.
5. Fry the prawns in a little oil in a pan till the prawns turn to a pink colour. Then add to the pot.

GREMOLATA
Mix all the ingredients and sprinkle over the pot.

6. Serve with freshly baked bread or stir-fried rice. (see recipes)

EASY SELFRAISING FLOUR BREAD

The perfect bread recipe to pop in with the kitchen utensils when heading on a safari – easy to make with a few ingredients.

Use a black iron pot to bake the bread when doing it over the coals. I do as I was told by my mother in law – make a hole in the ground, add a few coals, and place the pot with bread on a stand over the coals. All place a few coals on the lid – the perfect outdoor oven! in the oven, an old aluminium pot will do the trick. Arrange a few chunky veggies on top of the bread and you are on trend with the latest Instagram posts.

If you are an absolute bread junkie as I am, you will rave about a warm slice of freshly baked bread, straight from the oven, lavishly spread with butter and topped with whole green fig preserve and a chunk of camembert cheese. Just make sure that you glass is also filled with an ice-cold Six Hats Sauvignon Blanc and you are as good as in heaven.

Makes 1 medium bread

500 g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
250 ml (1 c) chopped spring onions (optional)
500 ml (2 c) buttermilk or plain yoghurt or sparkling water
1 red onion, cut into thick slices
Few sprigs rosemary
1-wheel feta cheese, broken into chunks

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
1. Line an aluminium pot or black iron pot with baking paper. Spray with cook ‘n spray.
2. Mix the self-raising flour, salt and chopped spring onions, if using. Add the buttermilk, yoghurt or sparkling water and mix well. Add some water if the mixture is too stiff. Spoon into the pot.
3. Arrange the red onion, rosemary and feta cheese on top.
4. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a testing skewer comes out clean from the middle of the bread.
Serve with the seafood potjie.

STIR-FRY RICE

Stir-fry rice is the perfect side dish for a seafood potjie. You can even mix some rice with the seafood to make an instant type of paella.

Serves 6

375 ml (11/2 c) basmati rice
1 onion, chopped
230 g mushrooms, sliced
oil
750 ml (3 c) vegetable stock
Pinch turmeric
500 g frozen peas and mealies
Chopped parsley

1. Soak the rice in lukewarm water for 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, stir-fry the onion and mushrooms in some oil till soft. Strain the rice, add to the onion and mix.
3. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook the rice is soft and almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add in the peas and mealies and cook till heated through.

Sprinkle over some parsley and serve with the seafood potjie.

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