Pot au Feu

Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc.

This is the quintessence of French family cuisine, and must be the most celebrated dish in France! It honours the tables of the rich as much as it does those of the poor. Despite its lack of sophistication, it has not only survived the passage of time but is still one of the great favourites today, a triumph of simplicity. From this dish, thousands were born, such as Poule au Pot, Potée au choux, Navarin, daubes, carbonnades. And let's not forget the beautiful chicken soup. You can feast on this dish for three days.

Preparation: 30 mins, plus soaking ham hock.

Cooking time: 2 1/4 hours.

Special equipment: Large stockpot.

Main Recipe Image Pot Au Feu

Ingredients Required

For the meat
1kg Ham hock, soaked in cold water in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight
500g Flank of Beef, outer fat removed
300g Smoked streaky bacon, rind left on
3 litres Cold water
2 pinches Sea salt
1 Bouquet garni (6 bay leaves, 10g parsley, 4g thyme)
20 Black peppercorns
3 cloves Garlic (unpeeled)
350g Morteau Sausage, whole (*1)
400g Marrow bone, whole (optional)
For the vegetables
1 Savoy cabbage, cut in to 6 pieces, core retained
6 Medium carrots (480g), peeled and quartered
2 Celery stalks (120g), cut into thirds
2 Large turnips (300g), peeled and cut in half
2 Onions (300g), peeled, cut into 4, root left on
For the garnish
2 handful Chopped parsley

Cooking Method

Planning ahead

You can prepare this dish a day or two in advance and keep it in the fridge, ready to reheat and serve as required.

To cook the meat and vegetables

Place all the meat, except the Morteau sausage and marrow bone, in a large casserole. Pour on the cold water to cover, add the salt and slowly bring to the boil. Let bubble gently for 1 minute while skimming to remove the impurities (*2). Turn down to a gentle simmer, add the bouquet garni, peppercorns and garlic and cover with a lid, leaving a small gap (*3). Cook very gently, with one bubble just breaking the surface, for 1½ hours. Skim off most of the fat (*4), then add the Morteau sausage and marrow bone. Blanch the cabbage wedges in boiling water for 3 minutes, then add to the pan with the rest of the vegetables. Cook very gently for a further 30 minutes or until the meat just starts to come away from the bone and the vegetables are soft but still holding their shape. Taste the liquor and correct the seasoning.

To serve

You could simply serve the pot au feu straight from the casserole and let guests help themselves, but serving will be easier if you portion the meat in the kitchen. Divide the meat between warm soup plates, surround with the vegetables and pour on some of the cooking liquor. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and accompany with Dijon mustard, gherkins and a French baguette.


Kitchen Secrets

Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury. 

Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2011.

Photograph © Jean Cazals 2011.