Pot-au-feu simply means Pot on the fire. It’s an all-time French favorite and it’s been around forever. It’s what we call a “Grandma’s recipe”. It’s basically a slow cook dish that you can prepare in 10 minutes, then cook for about 2 hours, then add vegetables and cook for another hour.
Not only is is delicious, but it’s also very healthy (provided you use beef from good sources) because the stock is made from bones, and this supplies our body with minerals and gelatinous substances (good for our collagen).
Serves 6 – Prep. time 20 mn.- Cooking time 3 hours
3 lb. (1.3kg) beef shank (with bone) and beef chuck (about half of each)
6 large potatoes
6 large turnips
1 large onion
1 stick celery
2 bay leaves
1 pinch of thyme
5 black peppercorns
3 marrow bones
Start by sticking the onion with the cloves (so you won’t have to pick them out) and placing the onion in a large stainless steel pot.
Add the celery sticks cut into chunks, the bay leaves, the black peppercorns, and the bone. Save the marrow bones for later.
Add a pinch of thyme and cover with about 2-3 quarts (2-2.5l) water.
Bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, add the meat to the pot, and add some sea salt.
Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, peel carrots and turnips. Wash leeks.
Cut leeks in 2.
Add the vegetables to the pot, and cook for one more hour, covered, on low heat.
The last step is to place the marrow bones in a small pan, cover with the stick, add 1/2 tbsp of vinegar, and cook on low heat for about 25 minutes. You can then pour the stock from these bones into the large pot.
You can then serve your pot-au-feu in shallow plates: give each person a piece of meat, vegetables, and some bone marrow. Add a few tablespoons stock.
The French traditionally eat this dish with some condiments such as coarse sea salt for the bone marrow, cornichons, mustard, and horseradish.