Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recipe: Pot au feu

Pot au feu sounds so much better than "stew", doesn't it? It should, because pot au feu resembles ordinary stew like a fine French wine looks like Boone's Farm. They both have the same basic shape and belong to the same family, but the resemblance ends there. In any case, the pot of fire is a wonderful choice in bitter weather and tough times. It's 'stick to your ribs' food combined with a velvety texture that is hard to beat.

2 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
1 onion
1 bouquet garni (thyme, parsley and bay leaf tied together with a string) [I just added the thyme and parsley]
1 pound pork spareribs
3 fresh sausages
6 Brussels sprouts, halved
6 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
6 small potatoes
1 celery root, peeled and chopped
3 leeks, sliced into thick rings [you could substitute additional onions]
Horseradish or sharp mustard

1. Simmer: settle pork shoulder in a medium pot. Pour in cold water to cover. Boil and skim off foam. Add onion and bouquet garni. Reduce heat; simmer tender 2 1/2 hours.
2. Stew: Add ribs and sausage and continue to cook, 20 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cook until tender, 25 minutes.
3. Sizzle: Pull out ribs and transfer to a broiler pan. Slide under hot broiler until tops turn crisp, 2 minutes.
4. Serve: Discard bouquet. Pull out shoulder and sausage and carve into big chunks; arrange on a platter. Arrange ribs and vegetables alongside. Service with horseradish and pickles.

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