Luz – Around The World – France

My oven is on. My dish is cooking. Tonight I am in France, and this dish was one recommended by Eleanor, a moderator at the UK Justice Forum. Tonight, I am having pot au feu.

Translated literally, this means little more than pot on the fire, or in other words, a stew. But there is a grand story behind it.

From Wikipedia “In 1600, King Henry IV of France (1553-1610) declared, “I want no peasant in my kingdom to be so poor that he cannot have a poule au pot on Sundays.” Poule au pot literally means ‘chicken in the pot’ and the so-called traditional recipe resembles the one of ‘pot-au-feu’.”

For me, this is an interesting tradition as Christmas quickly approaches. But Eleanor recommended not chicken but beef on the bone, and that is my key ingredient, because I want the marrow-fat to bubble through the dish.

Now it is onwards and upwards. Eleanor uses a Slow-Cooker. I used to have one of those perhaps 25 years ago and I loved it in winter in England. I could put my dinner in the Slow-Cooker before setting off for work, and when the day was done I came home to a delicious aroma and a hearty meal. Just one pot and one plate to wash up!

All I need is a slow oven, and our oven is definitely slow, plus a terracotta type casserole dish. Use Pyrex if you prefer, but this dish will not get better if cooked quickly. Think slow and you are almost there. Beef in meat juice.

I have now looked up many recipes on pot au feu, and there are as many recipes as there are chefs. I suggest that you can go your own way. Personally, my beef is going in first, and I will add vegetables and potatoes later.

The one thing that really pleases me is the United Kingdom is not renowned for herbs and spices in its cuisine, but tonight’s stop-over is in France, a country that thinks such flavourings are normal, or even essential.

I have been hacking through my herb and spice collection to see what I think goes best with my pot au feu.


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