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, you 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), vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, onions, leeks, turnips) and herbs.
- 1 1⁄2 kg beef, with bone
- 300 g lardons or 300 bacon, cut into cubes
- 4 -6 small onions, peeled
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 medium sized carrots, peeled and left whole
- 4 leeks, washed and cut in half
- 4 turnips, peeled
- 4 large potatoes, peeled & halved
- bouquet garni or 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 200 ml beef stock
- all-purpose flour
- Crock Pot:.
- Combine all ingredients with the beef stock and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Put the beef on platter and surround with the vegetables. Keep warm. Strain broth, skimming off fat, and add the flour - mix well and heat up gently until thickened. Serve separately in a gravy boat. Slice meat and serve accompanied with pickles and horseradish, French bread and butter.
- Brown meat in frying pan, adding salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little flour over the meat while turning over. Place meat into oven proof casserole dish or le Creuset.
- Briefly fry bacon, onions & garlic. Add the carrots and then the leeks and beef stock. Bring to the boil. Put everything into a large le Creuset or casserole dish, adding the turnips and potatoes last.
- Cook at low temperature (150C/300F) for about 5 hours or until the meat falls of the bone.
- Slice meat and serve accompanied with pickles and horseradish, French bread and butter. Serve the thickened jus in a gravy boat.
- Depending on the meat being used, a Pot au Feu can be very rich. If you would like a leaner version, prepare it the day before and allow to cook overnight. Once cooled the fat will rise to the surface and it can be skimmed off. The dish can then be re-warmed.
- For a Pot au Feu with a Mediterranean flavour, modify the recipe by reducing the amount of meat, increasing the amount of vegetables and adding more herbs.
Excellent recipe French Tart. We loved it. Incredible comfort food with a parisan flair. The meat was tender, moist and juicy the gravy full of robust, savory flavors and the vegetables were perfect. Made exactly as written for the crockpot version. Kudos my friend
Not sure how this recipe got 5 stars. It was extremely dry and not edible. I followed directions exactly. The amount of food filled two 9x13 containers. It looks like the conversions were incorrect. Sorely disappointed.
This is a wonderful recipe. I could not find turnips so did without. Nevertheless we enjoyed the flavorful combination of vegetables and the tender, moist and perfectly cooked roast. This is one of the few crock pot roasts that I've made that did not dry out during nine hours of cooking. Best of all my husband and children enjoyed a wonderful meal together while I was working late - and left me some for later. This one is definitely a keeper. Thanks French Tart.