Pot-au-Feu Provençale

Boiled Beef, Lamb, and Vegetables

The Provençal version of pot-au-feu requires lamb, garlic, and chickpeas. It may even include chicken feet to thicken the broth a bit. The rich broth should always be prepared a day in advance so that the fat will congeal on top and can be removed completely. Leftover pot-au-feu provides the base for several other dishes: Boeuf Mironton, Tian de Boeuf aux Légumes, Capoun, and Salade de Riz Variée, so be generous with your proportions. Serve with a hearty red wine.

It is said that one must be at least thirty years old to enjoy fully this simple dish.

Ingredients

  • 10 carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 leeks
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 2 pounds short ribs or flanken, tied with string to stay intact while cooking
  • 2 pounds beef shank 2 pounds lamb (shoulder, shank, or leftover leg)
  • 1 veal knuckle
  • 2 chicken feet (optional)
  • salt
  • bouquet garni (p. 000)
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 8 small white onions
  • 3 pink turnips
  • 6 small potatoes
  • 1 large beef marrow bone (or 4 to 5 small ones)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cup chopped parsley
  • 6 slices firm white bread for making triangular Croutons
  • ½ cup Vinaigrette
  • 1 1-pound 4-ounce can chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons (kosher) salt
  • 2 tablespoons Cornichons

Method

Peel 1 carrot (save the others for a later step), yellow onion, and garlic cloves and leave them whole. Stick 2 cloves in the onion. Trim the leeks and celery stalks (reserve the heart).

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the three pieces of meat, the veal knuckle, and chicken feet (if you have them). Boil, skim off the surface fat, add salt and skim again. Add the clove-studded onion, carrot, celery stalks, leeks, garlic cloves, bouquet garni, juniper berries, peppercorns, and salt. Lower the flame and simmer for 2 hours. Cool and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the layer of fat from the broth (and discard the chicken feet if they were added). Remove the celery, bouquet garni, and clove-studded onion. Bring the broth to a boil. Peel the white onions, turnips, carrots, and potatoes and leave them whole. Add to the broth the celery heart, turnips, and carrots. Lower the flame and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the onions and potatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes. (Cooking time will depend on the size of the vegetables; check frequently to see if they are tender.)

Prepare the croutons and Vinaigrette.

Put the meat on a platter, untie the string and slice it. Arrange the meat slices attractively and surround with the vegetables. Cover with foil and keep warm in a turned-off oven.

Add the marrow bone to the broth and cook for 10 minutes, then remove it. Use a slender knife to scrape the marrow out of the bone, chop it and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Strain the broth and reheat to serve as the first course. Line individual soup bowls with the croutons and place a piece of marrow on top of each crouton.

For the main course, remove the platter of meat and vegetables from the oven, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley, and pour a ladleful of hot broth over it. Pass around small bowls of chickpeas (heated in a separate pan), cornichons, kosher salt, Dijon mustard, and vinaigrette.