A pot au feu is an example of poached meats par excellence. There was a day when every farmhouse had a pot of broth simmering on the stove or in the hearth to which various meats could be added and gently simmered. Traditionally a pot au feu is served in two courses: the broth, followed by the meat. In this version, the meat is served surrounded with the broth. Traditional accompaniments are mustard, cornichons (sour gherkins), and coarse salt, but the Mostarda di Cremona and Green Sauce are delicious with the various meats. When buying short ribs, be sure to buy them cut crosswise so the ribs themselves are only
|large bouquet garni|
|beef or veal stock or water, as needed to cover|
|beef or veal shanks|
|chuck roast, 1, tied in two directions|
|beef short ribs|
|carrots, halved lengthwise, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces|
|leeks, greens removed, whites halved lengthwise, rinsed|
|turnips, peeled, each cut into 6 wedges|
The meats in a pot au feu are cooked in the manner of stew meat; once cooked, they should offer little resistance to the tooth. The French, in their need to add luxurious touches, also sometimes briefly poach a lean, tender cut of meat (such as a beef tenderloin) or duck breast in the broth so that they can serve elegant slices of the rare or medium-rare meat along with the vegetables and pot au feu meat. Such dishes are called à la ficelle, which means “with string.” The string refers to the string tied around the meat so that it can be easily retrieved once cooked.
Copyright © 2017 by James Peterson. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.