Pot au Feu
Here’s the winter stew recipe that I cooked, inspired by my French translation from an 18th century cookbook:
serves 4 – easily adjusted for more if need be
2 tbsp / 30 g olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 lbs / 900 g stewing beef, chopped into 1 inch / 2.5 cm cubes
1/2 bottle / 375 mL red wine
3 cups / 750 mL stock
12-15 mushrooms, chopped – divided in 2 piles
1 tsp / 5 g rosemary, chopped fine
1/2 lb / 250 g cipollini onions, peeled (white onion could be substituted if you had to)
1/4 tsp / 1 g ground cloves
2 large carrots, chopped
2 branches celery, chopped
12 fingerling potatoes
2 bay leaves (fresh, if at all possible)
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley – for garnish
Start with a large pot on a large burner of the stove. Put it at medium-high heat and add the oil. Mince the garlic. Make sure the beef is ready to cook, then throw the garlic in and let it infuse the oil. Add the beef and sear the cubes so they brown in the oil. You will have bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, that’s important. Once the beef is seared on all sides, add in a few carrot and celery pieces, and half the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, and add rosemary. Stir and let them brown a bit. Deglaze the pot with the red wine (add it in and stir to lift up the bits, colouring your stock.) Reduce heat to medium-low. Let it simmer a few minutes, then add the stock.
While the pot simmers, peel your onions (TIP: it’s easier if you trim the ends and then pour hot water over them.) Once peeled, toss them in olive oil and then roast them in the oven or sauté them in a hot pan until they are slightly charred. Add in the remaining mushrooms and the cloves. Once the mushrooms are lightly browned and have begun to release their juices, add the contents of your pan to the stew along with the other remaining vegetables. Add the bay leaves last.
Let the stew simmer until the meat is cooked through and veggies are ‘al dente’.
Serve warm in large bowls, garnished with freshly chopped parsley and a good Bordeaux!