A Pot au feu (pot on the fire) is defined as a French Stew consisting of meats and vegetables. It’s steeped in rustic tradition and is typically made with beef, oxtail, or other types of meat. The recipe at the bottom of this post is made with organic chicken.
- 3 quarts chicken broth (use organic, low sodium)
- 1 small - med whole chicken whole, free range, organic if possible
- 1 large onion cut into large chunks
- ¼ cup grainy Dijon Mustard
- 2 large leeks White part cut into ¼ inch round slices
- 6-8 cloves garlic peeled
- 10 black peppercorns whole
- 10 sprigs thyme plus 1 tsp chopped
- 12 baby carrots peeled, whole
- 2 turnips peeled and cut into approx 1
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into approx 1
- ½ head cabbage coarsely chopped
- 4 stalks celery sliced
- ½ head cauliflower coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste to taste
- In a large pot combine the stock, entire chicken, 2-4 celery stalks with leaves, onion, chopped carrot, garlic, peppercorns, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then, cook on low heat simmering for about 1½ hours. Turn the chicken over once.
- When the chicken is cooked through, transfer it to a platter to cool. Remove the meat and place it in a bowl. Discard the bones, giblets and skin.
- Strain the broth and discard the chopped vegetables and herbs.
- In the meantime mix the chicken pieces with the mustard.
- Pour the broth back into the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add 12 whole baby carrots, the turnips and potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken (mixed with mustard), cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, and the remaining chopped celery (leaves removed) Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Let the pot simmer for about ½ hour on low heat until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
- Scoop the chicken and vegetables into individual soup bowls. Add some broth on top. Sprinkle with fresh chopped thyme.
- Serve with fresh Artisan Bread.
It’s a meal in itself and the flavors are savory and exquisite. There are many variations of this traditional French stew. Because it uses chicken, instead of beef, it’s lighter and easier to digest.
As with any soup or stew, it’s always better the next day, but it will be hard to resist.
Some pot-au-feu recipes are made with large chunks of meat and vegetables although I prefer to enjoy it more like a soup.
You can also add quinoa or chickpeas to the pot if you like.
What’s your favorite French soup? Please leave a comment below.