Pot au Feu is a French country dish made with beef, broth and vegetables and is most popular all over France. Most households have their own special recipe due to its popularity and this rustic dish is much different than American beef stew due to it’s brothy rustic nature.
This French beef stew is not difficult to prepare and the ingredients are readily available. What makes this dish so delectable is the broth – it’s rich and liquidy, not thickened after cooking. I look at Pot au Feu as a cross between a stew and soup.
There are several components to Pot au Feu – one being a beef roast of some sort and veal or beef shanks. Bone marrow from the shanks provide richness to the broth – a real umami maker and a variety of roots vegetables like carrots, turnips, potatoes and leeks become the base for the entire bowl.
Slow cooking is what makes this recipe so special and this is one weekend or holiday meal you should treasure. I like to serve the stew with country bread or rolls for dipping and a good glass of red wine wouldn’t be bad either. This meal is a great addition to any dinner repertoire, especially for special occasions.
3 pound beef chuck or brisket roast
2 veal shanks
1 onion – peeled and cut into large chunks
4 leeks, sliced
8 carrots, sliced
8 stalks celery, sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 bay leaf
4 whole cloves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 quart chicken broth
1 quart beef broth
salt & pepper
- In a piece of cheesecloth, add bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, thyme and sage. Roll up and tie with kitchen twine.
- In a large pot, add onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery, beef roast, shanks, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and bouquet garni (tied herbs). Add broths and 4 quarts of water to cover. Place over medium high heat and allow to boil. When boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with lid slightly ajar. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, skimming skum off top occasionally.
- Remove beef and shanks, set aside. Strain liquid by removing all vegetables and bouquet garni.
- Place pot with broth over medium-high heat and reduce for 15 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cook for 20 minutes.
- Slice beef and shanks and add back into pot with vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 8 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!