Poule au Pôt

This is a wonderful family dish, filling the kitchen with its scent. Evolved from British, French, and Italian tastes, it should please every discerning palate.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb beef or veal shank
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 onion studded with 2 cloves
  • A large bouquet garni
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 large chicken or stewing hen, about 4-5 lb, with the liver and heart
  • lb medium carrots
  • 2 lb leeks, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 lb medium turnips
  • Noodles for 8, about 4 oz, or 1 small loaf of French bread, sliced diagonally
  • Coarse sea salt, to serve

For the Stuffing

  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • cup milk
  • cups chopped, uncooked, cured ham
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method

Put the shank in a large pot, add the water, and bring slowly to a boil, skimming off any scum. Add the onion, bouquet garni, some salt, the peppercorns, and celery. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, skimming as you go.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Soak the bread crumbs in the milk to moisten, then squeeze dry. Mix them with the ham, garlic, and parsley. Chop the chicken liver and heart, and add to the mixture with the beaten egg. Season with pepper and nutmeg (you may not need salt, but taste to see). Beat very well until thoroughly mixed. Stuff the bird and truss it. Add the bird to the pot and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Add the carrots, leeks, and turnips. Taste for seasoning, then continue to simmer for another hour or until everything is tender. Be sure that there is always enough liquid to cover everything.

If you are going to serve the broth as a first course, strain 6 cups of the liquid into a separate pan, boil to reduce by one-third, remove as much fat as possible, and adjust the seasoning. Either simmer the noodles in it for 5 minutes or serve with the diagonally sliced French bread - toasted in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. (Put the slices in soup bowls and then pour the broth over them.)

Transfer the beef and chicken to a board. Cut the meat from the shank into medium thick slices and arrange on a large platter. Untruss and carve the chicken. Pile the stuffing on the platter and arrange the chicken on top. Put the vegetables in pretty array around the meats. Cover and keep hot while you serve the first course.

Serve the meat platter as the main course - it may need some coarse salt to go with it.

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