• Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 4h 15m
  • Rating ****

Serves 6

This classic French boiled beef dish (which translates as "pot on fire") is simple to prepare and yields a double dividend: the cooking broth is served as a soup for the first course, while the cooked beef and vegetables form the main course. In France, this popular dish arouses considerable passions and every year, pot au feu festivals are held across the country. A good pot au feu cannot be rushed: allow at least 4 hours for the brisket to cook. Serve the soup with good crusty bread, and as optional garnishes, offer cornichons, pickled onions, mustard and horseradish. WINE RECOMMENDATION: A robust West Coast Pinot Noir or a French Burgundy will balance the richness of this dish.


  • For Pot au Feu:
  • 3 pounds beef brisket, with fat point removed, or eye of round, cut in half crosswise (across the grain), choice grade
  • 1 pound salt pork, quartered
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 sprigs marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 carrots, sliced on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick (about 1 cup)
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup diced turnip
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
  • 2 pounds white or red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 small beef marrow bones (optional)


TO PREPARE POT AU FEU: Place the beef and salt pork in a stockpot and add the stock and water (add more of each if necessary to cover the beef). Place the bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, thyme, parsley and marjoram in a piece of cheesecloth and secure. Add the "bouquet garni" to the pot, add the salt, and cover the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface with a large spoon. Add the carrots, celery, parsnips, turnip, onion, leeks and garlic, and simmer, covered, for 3 1/2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally. Add the potatoes. Wrap the marrow bones in cheesecloth, add to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes longer or until the beef is tender.

Remove the beef, transfer to a serving platter and slice. Serve the cooking liquid as a first-course soup. Remove the bouquet garni and the wrapped marrow bones. For the entrée, place the sliced beef on warm serving plates with the cooked vegetables.

HELPFUL TIPS: Cooking the marrow bones in cheesecloth, like the bouquet garni, prevents the contents from escaping. Some guests will enjoy scooping out the marrow with a small spoon, so offer them that option; if they accept, serve the marrow bones with toast so they can spread the marrow and enjoy the contrasting textures. Other vegetables you may add or substitute are fennel bulbs (quartered); celery root (quartered); cabbage (cut into wedges); and fava beans.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 5305

nutrition information per serving

1500 calories; 118g total fat; 230mg cholesterol; 1999mg sodium; 59g carbohydrates; 10g fiber; 54g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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