This pot au feu recipe is a classic French comfort dish. It takes the better part of an afternoon to prepare, but is low maintenance and makes the house smell absolutely wonderful. No doubt it’s the perfect recipe to use when entertaining guests.
Cook’s note: The addition of cloves and cinnamon give this pot au feu a complex, yet very subtle, flavor.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 40 minutes
- 2 pound piece of beef shank, with bone
- 2 pound piece of beef chuck
- 2 pounds beef ribs
- 2 pounds large beef marrowbones
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 large white onion, peeled
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon black and pink peppercorns (may substitute with all black)
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 stalks celery, cut into large pieces, leaves intact
- 12 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
- 8 leeks, washed, cut lengthwise and then into large pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled and quartered
- 1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes
- 1 fresh or day-old baguette, sliced and toasted into croûtes
- Coarse sea salt
- Special equipment:
- Large stockpot
- Large serving platter
Tie the beef shank, chuck, and ribs into a tight bundle with the string and place it in the stockpot. Wrap the marrowbones in the cheesecloth, secure it tightly with the string, and place it in the stockpot. Pour enough cold water into the stockpot to cover the ingredients.
Bring the mixture to a boil, skimming often. As soon as the water boils, turn it the heat down so that it is just at a low simmer. Push the cloves into the onion and place it into the stockpot, along with a separate cheesecloth bundle containing the bouquet garni, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Season the mixture with the salt and continue simmering it, uncovered, for 2 1/2 hours. Add water, if needed, to keep the meat and marrowbones covered. Do not allow the mixture come to a boil.
Wrap the celery, carrots, leeks, turnips, and potatoes each in a separate cheesecloth bundle, securing them tightly with string. Add the celery, carrots, leeks, and turnips to the pot and continue simmering for 40 minutes. Check the vegetables for doneness, and then remove any that have turned tender and cooked through. Add the potato bundle to the pot and continue simmering for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove each vegetable and meat bundle from the pot, unwrap it, and arrange the vegetables in groups around the meat on the serving platter.
Discard the clove-studded onion and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve. Return the broth to a clean saucepan and bring it to boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it has reduced in volume and has a good, strong flavor. Season it with additional salt, if needed. Transfer the hot broth to a serving bowl alongside the meat and vegetable platter.
Scoop the soft marrow from the bones and spread it on the toasted croûtes. Serve the croûtes, along with the coarse sea salt, cornichons, mustard, and horseradish as a garnish to the pot au feu.
This classic pot au feu recipe makes 8 to 10 servings.