The Italian Potjie with Gnocchi

Justin Bonello_Recipes

What you’ll need for the potjie:

  • 2-3 kilograms Lamb Knuckles
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2-3 leeks, cut into thin slices
  • One tin of whole baby peeled tomatoes
  • Punnet fresh whole baby tomatoes
  • Dried sweet basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 300-500ml organic beef stock
  • Grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese


Dust the lamb knuckles in seasoned flour (this will help to thicken the sauce later). Seal and brown in round bottomed three-legged potjie. Remove from the potjie and put aside. Now add onion, garlic and leeks and fry until soft. Add your meat and all the tomatoes and then add beef stock until liquid covers two thirds of the meat. Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Put on lid and simmer (not boil) until the meat falls off the bones. Taste every now and then and season accordingly.

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


Bake the potatoes in their jackets on a bed of coarse sea salt. Then scoop out the soft fluffy centres. You need the potato to be as hot as possible when you do this otherwise the gnocchi may get stringy, so use a lappie to prevent Kentucky fried fingers.

Next, put the hot potato through a mouli (French rotary grater or a sieve) bearing in mind that the mash must stay hot. Then add the flour, a little at a time with the salt and the egg yolks. Use your hand like a stiff, motionless claw (think the opposite of bread dough making) and mix the flour in by jabbing; the trick here is to do this with as little movement as possible. Once mixed, roll into sausage-like shapes about 3 cm in diameter and double wrap with cling film. Make sure it’s watertight by tying the ends with string. Poach in simmering water for 15 minutes (just below boiling point). Shock in a bowl of iced water and then put away until needed.

Adding the gnocchi to the potjie.

Unwrap the gnocchi, slice into medallions, slip into the potjie pot  and simmer for about 15 minutes before you’d like to eat to allow the gnocchi to suck up all that lovely fatty lamb tomato flavour. Serve with freshly cracked black pepper, torn leaves of fresh basil and grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.


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