Pot-au-feu is a traditional French family and comforting dish, a warm and hearty dish that is perfect for warming up in winter. Its name comes from the fact that in the past it was traditionally prepared in a pot over a fire, in which the poor and simple ingredients of its composition were slowly cooked.
Water, winter vegetables, pieces of beef (and bone marrow): these are the ingredients that make up this rich dish that every family has and passes its recipe down from generation to generation. Although the recipes vary from one family to another, all versions of pot-au-feu have two common “ingredients”: time and patience! Although this dish is easy to prepare, it requires slow cooking. For best results, it needs to be boiled for several hours.
Light, nutritious and comforting, pot-au-feu is the ultimate winter dish. Here’s everything you need to know about pot-au-feu: cooking tips, recipes and variations.
Secrets of the kitchen
To begin with, to prepare pot-au-feu according to the rules of the art, you must have a good dish. This vessel will allow the dish to simmer gently and for a long time, and the ingredients will be well cooked and tender. Estimate about four hours of preparation.
You can choose any seasonal vegetables you prefer, but the essentials are carrots, leeks, celery, onions (packed with cloves), potatoes and turnips. When it comes to meat, follow the “rules of three” to get a variety of flavors and textures. Choose from three different cuts of beef: prime rib (ribs, brisket, etc.) All should be topped off with a delicious side dish. For the full recipe for traditional pot-au-feu, click here.
A little tip: start cooking with cold water and strain the broth regularly during cooking to remove impurities and get a clear and transparent broth.
How to eat stew
For a nice dinner with family or friends, you can place the casserole in the center of the table and enjoy your pot-au-feu when all the guests are there. Everyone can decide the amount of food they eat with the platter: meat and vegetables, and finally, a generous amount of hot broth on top.
If desired, you can also transfer the meat and vegetables to a large plate and place the broth in the soup. Guests will then help themselves to the desired amount.
Dijon mustard can be added to pot-au-feu meat for a more intense and spicy flavor. Those with a sweet tooth can dip slices of bread into the broth, crushed with fresh garlic, or dip croutons made from stale bread.
As for drinks, this winter dish can be enjoyed with white wine or, if you prefer, with a cold lager.
Pot-au-feu can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in an airtight container with a lid. As with any stew, it’s even better the next day: feel free to double the amount when cooking! Before tasting, it is enough to reheat to bring out the flavor and restore the tenderness of the meat pieces.
If the meat and vegetables are eaten, but only the broth is left, do not throw it away! You can eat it on its own for a light but nutritious meal, or you can use it with vermicelli or rice.
As we said, there is not just one recipe for pot-au-feu, rather, there is one for every family and everyone has their own secrets for preparing this simple and comforting dish. This traditional recipe can be adapted according to the ingredients we have or can easily identify.
Here are some examples of variations on the classic stew to prepare when you want a hearty meal that’s perfect for cold winter days.
Veal pot-au-feu with spinach
This pot-au-feu recipe revisits spinach, leeks and Lebanese couscous and is made with veal. Follow the recipe To prepare at home, this is the perfect dish for a friendly meal rich in flavor.
Hot pot on fire
Potée au feu is a gourmet variant of pot-au-feu, in which the beef is replaced by various cuts of pork (sausage, rind, etc.), all enriched with a wonderful selection of winter vegetables (green cabbage, carrots, turnips, leeks etc.). Click here to learn how to make it at home.
Also Read: Do You Know The Secrets Of The Perfect Broth?