The first frosts of autumn have never been so expected, and it is almost a relief to finally think about preparing warming dishes.
How to choose meat
The success of pot-au-feu depends on two essential points: the choice of ingredients and a very long cooking time. Ask your butcher for advice and mix at least three meats including:
♦ scooter (also called chuck) with its characteristic gelatinous line is a cut of the shoulder, close to the neck of the cow.
♦ Ribs dish There is a very tasty meat that is located at the end of the bones and is wrapped in two thin layers of fat.
♦ Nerve heel or galline There is a beautiful piece of walnut, nervous as the name suggests and gelatinous in color. It is located on the Achilles heel of the bull. Although pot-au-feu takes a long time to cook, its short fibers hold together well and can be crumbled cold into a salad.
♦ bull’s tailThe caudal appendage of cattle is necessary for flavoring the broth. The delicious flesh surrounding the small bones is also gelatinous: it is perfect for making terrine or parment. To prevent the meat from falling apart in the pot, it’s a good idea to tie it (or ask your good butcher to do it).
♦ Le pot-au-feu twin (not to be confused with its alter ego, the steak twin) is a long fibrous muscle that breaks down easily after long cooking. This is the perfect meat to make stuffing, to add to Bolognese.
♦ bones of the brain Give character to the broth. To taste the marrow after a very long cooking of the pot-au-feu, it is advisable to cover the two ends with two thick slices of carrot (of different colors, even prettier!) and a bundle of each bone.
Stages of preparation
The steps for making pot-au-feu are simple and require only patience: put about 2 kg of meat for 6 people in a large pot, cover generously with cold water, start cooking on low heat and until the stock boils. Skimmer patiently and regularly (makes sense, but it’s important to be specific because you rarely choose the right dish!).
During this time, peel and chop vegetables: leeks, celery, turnips, carrots, but originality requires cabbage, tuberous parsley, cardoons or Jerusalem artichokes, depending on the cooking time. Not to mention a bunch of garni and a large white onion with three cloves attached.
In short, boil it together with the meat for an hour, then carefully boil it, add a little salt, peppercorns, a bunch of garni and onions. One hour of cooking with leeks and cabbage. One hour of cooking with carrots, celery and turnips. Cooked for an hour with tuber parsnips, cardoons, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes and marrow bones…always on a low simmer.
As with all pies, the oven is better if made the day before, and the broth in particular is especially delicious. This great emblematic dish of home and bourgeois cuisine also has regional variations. Thus, in the Southwest, foie gras joins vegetables and meat; In Franche-Comté, smoked sausage joins pot-au-feu, while in Bresse, it’s good chicken to pair with beef and pork.
► Glorieuses de Bresse Stew
6 per person
1 grilled Bresse chicken
1 kg of beef (rib dish, parsley steak)
1 thick slice of salted pork belly
6 brain bone
Garni 1 bunch
1 small celery
3 large potatoes
2 bay leaves
Finely salt and ground pepper
Prepare the vegetables and cook them separately in salted water. Keep the cooked vegetables in a dish. Add a bunch of garni to the boiled vegetable water, put the beef. Simmer gently for two to three hours, simmer for a long time. Then add onion and peppercorns.
In another pot, cook the pork belly with unsalted water and a bay leaf. An hour and a half before cooking the beef, pour the minced chicken in the meat broth. When cooked, remove the pieces of meat. Cook the marrow bones. Boil potatoes thirty minutes before eating.
Take the broth, lightly grease it and pour it into a large pot that can easily be placed in the center of your table. Arrange the various sliced meats, thickly sliced pork belly as well as sliced chicken and lastly the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a slight simmer.
Top the Bresse Poultry Stew with chives, pearl onions, pickled cherries and mustard so everyone can season their dish to their liking.
Place the pot on the table with very hot plates next to each guest for a cup of broth.