Sunday lunch Pot au Feu

It was a very cold and grey January Sunday, the promised Siberian winds seem to have arrived and it finally feels a bit like winter. A little bit like a contradiction is that today I saw the first crocus of the year when out walking with friends.

Yesterday I went to the butchers, to get some oxtail for my Sunday Pot au Feu. I know they stock it as have seen it before but they had sold out! I was so surprised but all the butchers pitched in and came up with suggestions as to what meat I could replace the oxtail with. After some deliberation we decided that neck of lamb, on the bone, would most likely work.

Pot au Feu is a French peasant dish and you can use any cartilaginous meat. A beef stew by tradition but in this case lamb worked wonderfully. It means “pot on fire” and used to stew for days, simply by just being filled up with new meats. I didn’t use any sausage but a Toulouse sausage would have worked very well with its hearty spiciness.

I used veg from the allotment
• Swede
• Parsnip
• Garlic
• Rosemary
• Bay leaves
From the fridge I used
• Shallot onions
• Carrot
• Potato
• Leek
• Spring Onions
• Selleri

From the butchers I got
• Neck of lamb on the bone
• Smoked bacon
All I needed in addition was salt and cracked pepper corns and plenty of time.

I blanched the meat before getting started to get rid of impurities and then simmered them on low heat for 60 minutes, skimming it every now and then. Meanwhile I peeled the vegetables, I added them whole to the pot and got back to simmer for another 60 minutes. When the vegetables were done I took them out of the stock and cut them up, quite rustic still and served with the lamb and plenty of the stock. The lamb flavor really came through without taking over, the veg was cooked just right and the stock clear from gentle simmering.

There was no lamb left but veg and stock and it will make a perfect base for a weeknight soup!

2 Responses to “Sunday lunch Pot au Feu”
  1. kdonkey says:

    This sounds lovely and would be perfect for a chilly day. Would be been very tasty with oxtail, which I love. going to have to try this out sometime this week

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