Since the dawn of time (just before breakfast), man eats to live …
But in the last few centuries, the simple need for food gave way to pleasure, or pleasures! From the imagination and passion of each of us, cooking has been elevated to an art, and dishes to masterpieces. But all has not been made in a stroke. This page aims to help you discover the history of food and products that make every day the joy of our taste buds!
The pot-au-feu is according to the Larousse Encyclopedia of 1867 “Based on our cooking, it is through it that our national cuisine is distinguished from all others.” According to the same encyclopedia, our neighbors across the Channel make for themselves something like a pot-au-feu, but it is much less popular and is made with salted meats.
Do you know why the pot-au-feu is a French culinary symbol of this country? Just because elsewhere, cooks grill or roast meats, they are prepared sometimes in stew, but they do never boil it in water with vegetables to recovere the juices.
The great merit of pot-au-feu is that, according to the dictionary, it provides both a soup (broth), boiled meat (mainly beef) and vegetables. It provides more than any other food: it can compose a meal for the poor. The story of the dish called pot-au-feu is old. In the twelfth century, the pot refers to a household receptacle intendeded to contain liquids and foods. A century later, in the kitchen, the word means a pot in which you boiled the meat. The term potted meat, at the end of the thirteenth century, is for food boiled with water as opposed to a food roasted.
The term pot-au-feu is an extension of the old name of the container: pot smoking, pot fire for meat, pot over the fire.
Let us return to the preparation of the dish itself: For a successful pot-au-feu, you must choose the fat and lean meats, tastes and textures: all casserole cuts must be chosen in harmony… Traditional vegetables are carrots, turnips, leeks, mushrooms, onions, garlic, celery … they contribute to the flavor of the broth. You know that your pot-au-feu is successful “when an embroidery needle sinks into without resistance.” Know that there is an old debate that divides households: should we put the meat in cold water and then put it all to cook or should we wait until the water is boiling before plunging meat? Extensive debate.
If you want to focus on the flavor and clarity of the broth, put the meat in cold water, bring to boil and skim the early stirrings. Your soup will be clear and tasty, but your meat will be bland. If you want to keep the taste of meat, then dive into the water once it is boiling: the juices stay in the meat and mingle little with broth. So, it will be less fragrant. The choice is yours.
Preparing the pot-au-feu is old and the variations are numerous. The pot-au-feu is not so easy to succeed, it requires time and attention. You can prepare it the day before, it will be better. Now, the pot-au-feu is a winter dish, a dish that we love to share with family or friends.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 240 minutes
Ingredients (for 4 people):
– 500 g beef (with)fat or oxtail
– 500 g lean beef
– 500 g beef with gelatin
– 1 bone with marrow
– 4 leeks
– 4 carrots
– 1 stalk of celery
– 2 onions
– 1 clove of garlic
– 1 bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
– 2 cloves
– Coarse salt
– Black peppercorns
Preparation of the recipe:
Tie up the meat so that they are maintained in shape during cooking. Cut the oxtail in pieces. Peel the carrots, leeks andcelery, then wash them.
Take the garlic and onions. Prick with a clove. Brown the onions, dry in the oven: it will color the broth (to color the broth, add½ teaspoon of beef stock).
Put in a pot all the pieces of meat and bone marrow, previously wrapped in muslin to prevent marrow from spreading out.Cover with 5 liters of cold water. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, taking care to skim frequently, until it forms no more foam.
Add the onions, carrots, leeks (bunched and tied), celery, garlic and bouquet garni, previously tied. Add 12 peppercorns.
Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered (steam must escape on the side), on very low heat for at least 4 hours. Do not forget to degrease during cooking with a small ladle. The broth from the pot-au-feu is consumed hot or warm before the meat andvegetables alone. It can also be the basis of various soups.
As for meat and vegetables, remove them from the broth and arrange them in a dish. Serve immediately with pickles (gherkins), rock salt and mustard.