Slow Cooker Pot au Feu is the rustic French peasant version of Pot Roast
Here in the North Maine Woods the nights are getting chilly and the days are crisp and dry. It’s time to start thinking about fall and winter fair for the dinner table. One of the family favorites is the French Canadian version of Pot Roast called Pot-Au-Feu. It translates to “pot on fire” and is a traditional rustic French stew that can be made with beef or pork. Traditionally in France it was considered “peasant fare” and was made with less expensive cuts of meat that required stewing for a long time.
Pot Au Feu has its roots in Maine’s French Culture
This is an old Maine dish that has its roots in the French Canadian culture that came to Maine when many French Canadians from Quebec emigrated to the shoe and textile manufacturing plants in central Maine and to the logging camps of the North Maine Woods in the late 1800’s. There are large Franco-American populations in the cities of Lewiston, Augusta, and Waterville to this day. Maine cuisine is greatly influenced by these hard working people and their French culinary heritage.
The Basic Pot Au Feu Formula
This is a stew made of less tender cuts of beef or occasionally pork. Although some of the seasoning ingredients may vary, the basic formula is:
- Meat – low-cost cuts of beef or pork that need long cooking to tenderize them and often a marrow bone or oxtail added to enhance flavor
- Winter Vegetables – any combination of carrots, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, leeks, cabbage, celery, and onions
- Spices – bouquet garni, salt, coarse ground black pepper, allspice and cloves.
What is the best meat to use in a Pot au Feu?
Port au Feu is usually made with less tender cuts of beef, and also pork. Beef chuck roast is a good choice. Beef shank and rump roast are often use but any economical cut is going to work as the long slow cooker process tenderizes the toughest of meat.
What is a Bouquet Garni?
It’s an herb bouquet made of sprigs of thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and celery leaves tied together with a string or wrapped in cheesecloth then suspended in a soup or stew to give it more flavor. The bouquet garni is removed before serving.
Served family style in a pot or individually in soup bowls, pot au feu is yummy with crusty bread, and cider vinegar and dijon mustard as condiments.Print
Pot-Au-Feu…. Pot on Fire
A delicious meat stew with its roots in the Franco-American culture of Maine. It uses less tender cuts of meat, and root vegetables so its perfect for a chilly fall or winter day.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 5 hours
- Total Time: 5 hours 20 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Stew
- Cuisine: Franco-American
- 3 pounds of lean beef or pork cut in to 1 1/2″ pieces, less tender cuts of meat are perfect for this dish
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 2 cloves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic cut in half
- 1 bouquet garni
- 2 cups of carrots sliced in 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup of parsnips in 1 inch pieces
- 2 med. onions thickly sliced
- 1 cup leeks sliced in 2 inch pieces
- 4 stalks of celery, cut in 2 inch pieces
- 2 cups of potatoes, cut in 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks (use Yukon Gold, they hold up better to the cooking process than Russets)
- Brown the meat on all sides in a saute pan.
- Put the meat in a large slow cooker with the beef broth.
- Add all the spices and vegetables around meat.
- Serve family style in a large pot or individually in soup bowls with a nice crusty bread, and mustard and vinegar as condiments.