My recipe for Pot Au Feu is included in my first cookbook, Levana’s Table: Kosher Cooking For Everyone.
Pot au feu is pure poetry in a pot. The ingredients going into Pot au Feu being so perfect and making such a perfect statement, you need to do nothing more than throwing everything in a pot. Talk about simple! 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. When you make pot au feu, you need nothing else whatsoever: It’s all in! The traditional serving ritual which surrounds the serving of the pot au feu is every bit as satisfying and intriguing 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 or 1 boneless beef shin (kolichel) or 1 shoulder roast or 1 minute roast (4-5 pounds)
- 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 (use sparingly if at all, as your meat may be salty enough to season the whole dish)
- 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. Adjust consistency and seasonings (Add a little water if too much liquid has evaporated, you want a strong clear flavorful broth)
Or: Place all ingredients in a crockpot, set to low in the morning and let cook until dinner time.
To Serve the Pot Au Feu: 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.