Summer is a time when people eat outside and try to take in every bit of sunshine. While heating up under the boiling sun, eating something hot isn’t ideal, at least for most people. No, we didn’t already have this conversation last week but we did have one that’s very similar to this one. Last Sunday, I posted a recipe for Madeleine’s and if you tried them, you had to turn on your oven. But, it was worth it, right? So you can trust me when I say that this warm soup is also one try no matter how hot it is.
Last week, I visited my mom’s (Dominique) cousin. In our family, recipes are past down from generation to generation and everyone adds their own little flair. One year ago, she made a traditional Alsatian dish, Fleischnacka (don’t worry, the recipe will come) and I had to get the recipe. Thus, when I went this year to visit her, she gave me the recipe. What does this have to do with the Pot-Au-Feu? The day before we made them, we made a Pot-Au-Feu in order to use the broth in the tomato sauce and any leftover meat. Let me tell you that it was 91F outside and we did eat this meal outside under the sun.
When looking at the pictures, I realized that you might seem intimidated by this meal; I mean, even I can’t believe that I was able to make it. This is a time consuming recipe but that’s only because the meat takes a while to cook. While the meat cooks, you can make all the side salads. Obviously, the more side salads you make, the longer it will take. So I suggest that if you want to keep busy, make multiple salads but don’t overwhelm yourself. Three salads kept me busy for a while. You can make the side salads from almost anything. This recipe is very versatile and you can make things to your liking. The dressings that I used were all made from vinegar, Dijon mustard and oil. You can make dressing with just vinegar, and oil or use any other of your favorite ones. Now the last two things that you can change is the bouquet of herbs (a.k.a.bouquet garni) and the vegetables. Any herbs that you have in your garden and pantry can be used, same thing for the vegetables.
So now, you probably have an idea of what a Pot- Au- Feu is but let me clear things up. Pot- Au- Feu is a french beef stew. Anything else to say? Well I bet Wikipedia explains better than I do, but it’s a recipe that was mainly eaten by the peasants back in the 1500-1600’s. Since they didn’t have much money, they would buy inexpensive meat that took a while to cook. As time went by, different regions and countries started changing ingredients with what they had. So feel free to add your own touch to this historical recipe.
- Bouquet Garni- thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, parsley, etc.
- 3-5 medium Carrots
- 8 cups beef broth
- 1 leek
- 1/2 tomato
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- 4-5 cloves
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 lbs. beef brisket or beef oxtail or a mix of both
- 1/4 cup Chives, chopped (optional)
- 25 slices of toasted baguette, sliced 1/4 in thick (optional)
- Side salads- carrot, cucumber, radish, tomato, celery, etc. (optional)
- Dijon Mustard (optional)
In a large pot, bring the bouquet garni, carrots, beef broth, leeks, tomato, onion (with cloves poked into it), salt and pepper to a boil. Add more water if necessary to cover everything. Turn down the heat to medium-low heat and add the meat. Cook for 2 hours, until meat is cooked. Once meat is cooked, place divide/cut into different slices and portions that are to your liking.
Remove the vegetables, bouquet garni and meat from the broth. Serve the broth in bowls and top with chives and toasted baguette. Here is where your opinion comes to play. You can add the vegetables to the soup, serve with the salads and meat or freeze for another use. If you choose to serve them with the salads, arrange them on the plates along side the side salads with the meat and mustard.