French Pot-au-Feu Menu + Recipe

Pot au feu recipe for the braiser and a great pot-au-feu menu. Yes—a great French pot roast recipe to make in your braiser.

My French pomegranate pot roast recipe. A great recipe for the braiser.

Bonjour! I know. It’s been too long since I’ve posted. I thank everyone for continuing to visit and support this site. Even though I’m an irregular correspondent, it’s gratifying to see that my recipes and stories still get hundreds of visits each day. Your time is precious, and I thank you—truly—for spending some of it with me.

Today, I’m making a pot-au-feu from my cookbook. Pot-au-feu (literally, “pot on the fire”) refers to a dish of meat and vegetables cooked in water. Usually, the broth is served as a first-course soup, followed by a main dish of the meat and vegetables. It’s classic French comfort food at its grandmotherly best.

And yet, sometimes I find a traditional pot-au-feu à l’ancienne kind of…ordinaire. That’s why I update it a bit. In my updated version of pot-au-feu I use jus de grenade—pomegranate juice—rather than water. And instead of serving the broth as a first course, I boil it down into a deeply rich, vaguely fruity sauce. The result is still comfort food, but more moderne than à l’ancienne. Puréed potatoes—or something else that’s creamy, like polenta—are a must with this.

What do you serve with pot-au-feu? Traditionally, vegetables were cooked right alongside, so those were your side dishes. Alas, again, I find that kind of ordinary. Let’s roast some veggies and whip up some potatoes. And as long as you’re going to this trouble (though really, most of this is hands-off cooking), why not call up a few friends and make it a cozy evening with people you enjoy most.

Here’s the menu for Pot-au-Feu:

Pâté Canapés. Do as a French home could would likely do: Buy the pâté, don’t make it!

• Appetizers: Pâté Canapés, olives, and nuts.

• Sit-down-first course (not necessary for a casual meal): Salad with Walnuts and Comté

• Main Course:
Pomegranate Pot-au-Feu (recipe follows)
Quick-broiled carrots and kale
Whipped potatoes or creamy polenta

Trader Joe’s Canneles. You could make canneles from scratch, but these are pretty amazing.

• Fromage ou Dessert
That is, either serve a few slices of lovely French cheese (if you’re into the French way of serving cheeses), OR bring out a very simple dessert. Great choices include:
• Crème caramel
• Crèpes (which, remember, you can make in advance and refrigerate or freeze)
• Profiteroles (again, make and freeze these!)
• Canneles: No, I’m not suggesting you make these complicated tea cakes! I say, pick them up from Trader Joe’s. Frankly, they’re almost as good as anything I’ve had state-side. To transform them from tea or coffeecake (as pictured) into a dinner-worthy dessert, first thaw them during dinner. Then, microwave them about 10 seconds so they’re supple. Then, slice them in half crosswise, place a small scoop of ice cream on the bottom half, replace the top half and spoon some caramel or chocolate sauce around the cannele. This is an amazing dessert.

Enjoy!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pomegranate Pot-au-Feu
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (2½ to 3-pound) boneless beef chuck pot roast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more if needed
  • 2 medium-size leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced
  • crosswise (about 1 cup)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
  • Pureed potatoes or creamy polenta, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof braiser or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the roast and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the meat browns too quickly). Transfer the meat to a plate.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium. If the pan is dry, add another tablespoon of oil. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes; add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add 1 cup of the pomegranate juice to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Boil gently until the liquid is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup pomegranate juice, the broth, herbes de Provence, and bay leaf. Return the meat to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and bake until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.
  4. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard all of the solids, including the bay leaf. Skim the fat from the cooking liquid and return the liquid to the pot. Boil rapidly until reduced to a sauce-like consistency, then stir in the butter to further thicken and enrich the sauce.
  5. Slice the meat and arrange it on a serving platter. Pour a little of the sauce over the meat and pass the rest of the sauce at the table. Serve with puréed potatoes or creamy polenta.

You know I love my braiser for pot-au-feu, don’t you? What? You don’t know what a braiser is? Find out here.

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2 comments to French Pot-au-Feu Menu + Recipe

  • The pomegranate sounds unusual, but now I must try it. It has been pretty warm here, but I am sure we will have more cool days. And, I just got back from TJs and now I feel like I missed the Canneles so now I feel like I need to go back. 🙂

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