This is one of my contributions for the French region in the Zaar World Tour. I haven't tried it yet but I plan to soon and I think it would be a nice dish to serve in the Fall.
Pot au Feu is French for “pot on the fire”. In other words, a stew or stock pot which is left cooking over the fire. In previous times, it may simply have been a cooking pot which was left over the fire, into which was thrown whatever food and scraps happened to be available. Often the meat was either scraps, or relatively poor cuts which needed a long time to cook in order to be tender. In historical terms, it was a dish for relatively poor people.
Today in France, one can buy “pot au feu” meat. Expect this to be meat which reflects the historical background of this dish: relatively inexpensive and inferior cuts, which will soften with long slow cooking. While such meat is quite adequate for a Pot au Feu, feel free to use better cuts if you wish.
As a Pot au Feu is historically a stew-like dish of whatever meat and vegetables were available, there are no absolute guidelines about what it should contain. However, in general it will contain beef, some bones (such as ox-tail) which have either marrow or cartilage (or both, depending on which bones are used), vegetables (such as carrots, onions, leeks, turnips) and spices. Due to concerns about CJD, this recipe excludes bones.