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Friday, November 13, 2009

How Can You Possibly Go Wrong With Ingredients Like These?

Pot Au Feu. This is the grandaddy of french cuisine in the winter. It is usually served as a plat du jour and is rarely on an everyday menu. The american equivelant is the new england boiled dinner. Every country has a version of this but somehow france beats them all as usual.
This of course if a variation on the dish as you can't find everything you need to follow the recipe in most places outside of france. But this is a very good impersonation of the dish and except for a few cuts of meat it is authentique.
Here I used some beef ribs I got from the local supermarket on sale. I also used A leg of chicken and some marrow bones. You can use all sorts of vegetables as long as they are sturdy. The main staples are carrots, cabbage, leeks, turnips and then add to that whatever takes your fancy.
To start with I blanched the meats which means you put them in some cold water, bring them to the boil and then rinse them off under cold water. This will remove the residue that rises to the surface when you bring a piece of meat to the boil. Getting rid of this gives you a better chance of ending up with a clear stock for your pot au feu.
You then wash out the pot and put the meats back in, cover them with water and put them back on the stove and bring it to the boil again. There will be a little more residue so you need to skim that off with a ladle.
Then, having peeled all your vegetables and cut them into any shape you want to you will add them to this same pot. You will also add thyme, bay leaf, whole unpeeled garlic buds and salt and pepper. Then let them simmer away util the vegetables are cooked. They will for the most part be cooked before the meats so remove them and keep them warm until the beef is ready.
When the beef is cooked correct the seasoning on the stock and ladle off any surface grease.
Put all the vegetables back into the pot with the meats, cover and let sit for a good hour in order for everything to come together.
Then serve accompanied by mustard, cornichons, horseradish and sea or kosher salt and some very crusty bread.