Posted on 7th of December, 2011 by Lévana
A few years ago, my husband and I were strolling on La Place des Vosges in Paris. At the outdoor terrace of one of those lovely restaurants sheltered under the arcades, there was a middle adged couple seated in front of their meal: a pot-au-feu, beautifully presented in a red Le Creuset pot. She was pouring the broth, he was pouring the wine. Their eyes and smiles were serenely fastened on each other, their glasses clinking. A perfect moment, for them as well as for those who encountered them. I had always known pot- au-feu as a family dish. Now I considered it with renewed respect: It may well be lovers’ food. OK, older lovers’ food, but that’s my team, so don’t knock it!
Literally, “pot-au-feu” means pot on the fire, to illustrate the fact that the whole meal cooks unhurriedly in one pot, filling the house with its heavenly aromas. The traditional serving ritual which surrounds the serving of the pot-au-feu is sure to be as satisfying as the taste of the finished dish. This is also a perfect crockpot recipe. For those of you avoiding beef, simply replace it with turkey parts (thighs, wings and necks), and add salt to taste, 2 cups red wine, and 1/4 cup olive oil to the pot.
1 first cut brisket (4-5 pounds) or 1 boneless beef shin (kolichel) or 1 shoulder roast
1 package beef neck bones (3-4)
5-6 marrow bones.
A mixture of the following: 1 lemon peel, 6 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, 3 sprigs thyme, 10 cloves, tied in a cheesecloth.
1 dozen small onions, peeled and left whole
A dozen very thin (not baby!) carrots, peeled and left whole
6 ribs celery, peeled and halved crosswise
4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
4 medium turnips, peeled and cut in quarters
1 small head cabbage, cut in wedges (leave each wedge attached at the stem.
2 dozen very small potatoes, scrubbed
Salt to taste (try and do this just before serving)
Ground pepper to taste, all the way at the end of cooking.
Place all ingredients in a large pot with a wide bottom. Add about 3-4 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low and let cook 3 hours. Or: set to low in the morning and let cook till dinner time.
Serving: Serve the broth alone as a first course. You should have enough for 8-10 servings, one cup per servings. If you don’t, add a little water to complete.
Next, slice the meat across the grain. Transfer it to a platter, with the vegetables and the marrow bones, taking care not to break the veggies. Serve the meat and veggies with sliced baguette topped with slices of the marrow and Dijon mustard.
Photo excerpted from my first cookbook, Levana’s Table. (Amazon is running out of them: I have lots of copies!)