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Pot-au-Feu

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Serves 8

  • To learn more, read:
    How to Make Pot-Au-Feu
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 131

Pot-au-feu is akin to a New England or Irish boiled dinner, but it packs much more flavor, thanks to the addition of a bouquet garni, which perfumes the broth, and to the piquant, briny condiments served with the meat to counter the richness. Though you may be tempted to add the potatoes right to the pot, that would “trouble the broth,” as the French say, making it cloudy. Cook them separately to keep the broth clear.

  • 5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 4 large leeks, white and light-green parts, sliced in half lengthwise, rinsed well
  • 2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, bottom round roast, or brisket
  • 2 lb. bone-in beef short ribs, shank, or oxtail
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 large carrots, cut crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces, thick pieces halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium purple-topped turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 8 toasted baguette slices
  • Flaky salt, Dijon mustard, and cornichons for serving

Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf in a 10-inch square of cheesecloth with kitchen string to make a bouquet garni. Tie the leeks into a bundle.

Put all of the meat in a 10- to 12-quart stockpot. Cover with cool water by 1 inch and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil, add the cabbage, and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. (Blanching the cabbage keeps its flavor from overpowering the broth.)

Skim the surface of the liquid in the pot, and add the bouquet garni, leeks, cabbage, carrots, turnips, garlic, onion, 7/8 oz. salt (about 2 Tbs. Diamond Crystal or 1-1/2 Tbs. Morton), 1/2 tsp. pepper, and enough water to just cover the meat and vegetables. Return to a boil, skim again, turn the heat down to low, and partially cover. Cook at a very gentle simmer, skimming off any foam, until the vegetables are tender and the meat is very tender. The meat will take 2-1/2 to 3 hours, but start checking  the cabbage after 30 minutes and the other vegetables after 1 hour; transfer each to a platter as it’s cooked.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes separately in lightly salted water until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain. Set aside.

Transfer the meat to a large platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Discard the bouquet garni. Put the potatoes and the other cooked vegetables into the broth to reheat for a few minutes, then transfer them to the platter with the meat. Ladle enough broth over the meat and vegetables to keep them moist, cover with foil, and keep warm in a low oven. Strain the broth if you think it needs it (I generally don’t).

Serve some of the hot broth as a first course along with the toasted baguette slices. (You won’t use all of the broth; save it for another use, such as a soup, braise, or sauce.)

Serve the meat and vegetables as the main course along with small bowls of flaky salt, mustard, and cornichons.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 480; Fat (g): fat g 16; Fat Calories (kcal): 140; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 6; Protein (g): protein g 40; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 43; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1450; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 105; Fiber (g): fiber g 8;

Photo: Scott Phillips

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