Prep 20 mins
Cook 5 hrs
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. History: 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.
- 3 lbs beef, with bone (plat de cote)
- 11 ounces bacon, cut in stripes
- 10 white pearl onions, peeled
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 4 cm cubes
- 2 leeks, washed and cut into 1 cm rings
- 5 tomatoes, chopped and peeled (1 cup)
- all-purpose flour
- Brown meat in frying pan, adding salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little flour over the meat while turning over. Place meat into oven proofed casserole or even better into a slow cooker.
- Briefly fry bacon, onions, garlic, carrots, than add tomatoes, leek and beef stock. Bring to the boil and add to casserole or slow cooker.
- Cook at low temperature (150 Celsius) for about 5 hours or until the meat falls of the bone.
- Serve with potatoes (boiled or fried).
- 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.
- Pot au Feu is often served with mustard and course salt.
- After removing and serving the meat and vegetables, there will be a delicious sauce left over. This can be used for making soup, as a base for a sauce or for cooking vegetables inches.
- 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 herbs.
This is the most authentically French recipe for Pot au Feu I have seen in a long time. I have been trying to approximate this recipe without success for several years. Congratulations on a great recipe!