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Pot au Feu Recipe

A traditional French dish. A mixture of meat or poultry and vegetables, often separated into two dishes, the broth being served as a soup (possibly on another occasion) and the meat and vegetables as the main course.
The ingredients are flexible, but for a group (and if having a big enough pot) a chicken could be included.

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Ingredients for 6 (10-12 if a chicken is included:

3lbs/1.5 kilos topside or brisket of Beef
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
1 x 3½ lb/1.3 kilo oven-ready Chicken (optional)
1lb/500gr Oxtail, chopped-up by your butcher (optional)
1lb/500gr Beef Marrow bones, cut into pieces by your butcher
8oz/250gr thick Belly Pork rashers, cut into 1ins/2.5cm pieces
2 further cloves of Garlic, peeled and roughly-chopped
1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt and about 12 Black Peppercorns (whole)
8 old Carrots, peeled, then cut into large chunks
4 Turnips, peeled, the cut into quarters
2 Parsnips, peeled then cut into large chunks
4 Leeks, the dark-green section discarded, the remainder carefully washed, then cut into chunks
4 sticks of Celery, cut into short lengths
1 Bay Leaf
A small bunch of Parsley, tied together with string – so it can be removed at the end

Equipment needed: A large deep casserole, with a lid, able to hold all the ingredients easily. A large serving dish.


1. Make tiny slits in the beef with a sharp knife all over the beef, and insert the garlic slivers.

2. Add this and the remaining meat/poultry items you have chosen to use to your casserole.

3. Add half the vegetables, plus the extra garlic, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns and parsley bunch to the pot.

4. Cover the whole with water.

5. Bring this to the boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest simmer you can maintain - just the old ripple of a bubble would be ideal.

6. Cook in this way for 4-5 hours, or until a sharp knife goes into the beef fairly easily.

7. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for a further 30 minutes.

8. Remove your meat/poultry items carefully with a perforated spoon (possible one in each hand) - and place them in the centre of a large serving dish.

9. Throw the marrow bones away, the parsley bunch, plus any bones that might have fallen off the oxtail.

10. Surround the centrepiece with the vegetables.

Serve with plenty of French Bread, gherkins and Dijon mustard are traditionl in France bu a bowl of Aioli and/or Horseradish Sauce, is also good.

Left over Liquid: There are various options here.

1. The liquid can be served as a soup before the meat course.

2. It can be left to completely cool, the fat will then come to the top. This can be skimmed off, and the liquid then refrigerated and used for soup on another occasion.

3. Skim off the fat, as above, then either refrigerate or freeze the liquid to use as stock for another occasion.

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