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This classic, timeless dish was described in the 1867 edition of Larousse encyclopedia as "the foundation of French cuisine, the very dish that truly distinguishes French cuisine from all others". Literally meaning "pot on the fire", pot-au-feu is named after the large cooking vessel used to cook it. Served on the tables of the rich and poor alike, this full dish contains a broth, cooked meat and vegetables.
Before starting this Pot au Feu recipe, organise all the necessary ingredients.
In a large stockpot, soak the different meat chunks in cold water and add coarse salt.
Bring to a boil.
Skim the surface several times with a skimmer...
... to make sure the stock is as clear as possible.
Add the whole carrots (cut in half if they are really big)...
... the onion studded with 2 or 3 cloves...
... a teaspoon of peppercorns...
... the bouquet garni...
... the celery sticks (remove the leaves)...
... and the turnips cut in half.
Reduce the heat and simmer for one hour.
Add the white stalk from the leeks and the courgettes, cut into chunks.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the peeled potatoes and simmer over low heat for another 45 minutes. If a lot of water evaporates, add more.
Using a knife, check whether the potatoes are cooked.
Serve this pot-au-feu while hot into deep plates, with a side of cornichons and mustard. Tip: When the pot-au-feu has cooled down, skim the bouillon with a ladle and store for a later use (soup, broth, etc.) If you have leftover meat, I recommend making hachis parmentier with it.