2015 Pot au Feu keeps you warm

8:19 am | recipe | 18 Comments

Bonjour à tous,

In France, we have all of January to send our New Year’s wishes, so here are mine. Peace and love … I cannot think of anything better to wish.

Love of food and France is what I share with you. To inaugurate my new, refreshed website, here is THE winter recipe which I served to my family for Christmas dinner (with homemade foie gras as a starter).

Pot au Feu is a much appreciated winter dish. Slowly boiling meats, making sure the broth is clear, adding vegetables, what better way to warm up. Each country has its version, so does each region of France. Below is mine, a classic one, with some useful tips.

pot au feu Hugo Desnoyers

photo credit : finished dish from Hugo Desnoyer’ “Morceaux choisis” First Editions. When I cook and serve my family and friends, I most often forget to take photos !!!!

Combine different cuts of beef, each contributing its specific texture and taste.   To produce a tasty and clean bouillon (broth)- start by placing the meats with bones in salted cold water, bring slowly to a boil. They will release their juices and flavor the broth. I recommend starting with an oxtail and a shortrib for a flavorful broth.

– skimming all foam is essential. Your patience will be rewarded.

– burn lightly the onions over the stove to add color to the broth.

Ideally prepare this first step the day before.The fat will come to the surface and form a film once the broth has cooled, making it easier to remove. Add the remaining meats to a simmering broth. This will seal their juices and preserve their taste.

Although we think beef for Pot au Feu, there are infinite variations. Any meat or poultry which will cook in a broth can be added. And for a light version, Pot au Feu de la Mer (fish cooked in a broth). For the vegetables however I recommend staying with the classic leeks, carrots, turnips, celery (cabbage is sometimes added but should be blanched separately first), and remember to boil the potatoes separately.

One last rule : always let meats or poultry return to room temperature before cooking.

My advice : cook more meat than necessary for one meal (meat will shrink somewhat when cooking).

With the leftover meat you can make

– boeuf mironton

– ragù bolognese for lasagne or pasta

or just a cold beef salad.


To be enjoyed in the cold of winter

For 8 servings
Pot au feu
For the broth

  • 20 cups (5 litres) water
  • 1 oxtail
  • 1 pound shortrib (plat de côtes)
  • bouquet garni
  • 3 leeks, 3 branches of celery
  • 2 onions, halved, caramelized and cloved*
  • salt, pepper, allspice (4 épices)

For the Pot au Feu

  • 2 pound hindshank (gite)
  • 2 pounds potroast (macreuse)
  • 2 carrots, 2 leeks, 1 turnip per person
  • 2 potatoes per person
  • 1 beef bone with marrow per person (optional)
  • coarse sea salt, mustard, cornichons (french style gerkins)


The day before

  1. Place oxtail and shortrib in a high stockpot, cover fully with salted cold water, bring to a boil.
  2. When foam appears, start skimming. Maintain water at a simmer. Skim until there is no more foam, then add one laddle cold water, bring to a boil and skim again. When broth is clear, add bouquet garni, celery, onions, halved and browned a few minutes in a non stick pan, salt, pepper and allspice. Cook at a simmer for 1 more hour.
  3. Turn off the heat, cover and place in a cool spot overnight.

The next day

  1. With a skimmer, remove the coat of grease which has formed at the surface of the pot.
  2. Remove bouquet garni, onions, leeks and celery.
  3. Bring the broth back to a boil, add the meats, lower heat to a simmer, skim, add 1 laddle cold water, skim again.
  4. When there is no foam left, cook uncovered at a simmer for 3 hours.
  5. 45 minutes before serving, add carrots and turnips.
  6. 30 minutes before serving, add leeks (white part only).
  7. Cook potatoes in boiling water separately so that their starch does not blurr the broth.
  8. If serving bone marrows, place in cold water with a handfull of coarse salt and refrigerate overnight to drain blood.  Rinse in cold water, place in a saucepan, cover with some bouillon, bring to a simmer and poach a few minutes


 Serving the pot au feu

Serve the bouillon as a first course.

You may add a shot of red wine to your soup plate, it is a French country custom called “ faire chabrot ”.

Cut meats and serve with the vegetables. Offer mustard, cornichons, coarse sea salt. The bone marrow is served on the side with “pain de campagne”.


Make a Sauce Gribiche :

boil one egg until hard. In a bowl, mash the yolk, slowly whisk in olive oil, add red wine vinegar as necessary, gerkins , capers, egg white, parsley and chervil, all chopped finely. Check seasoning.


  1. Reply

    Jane Ellen Bowling

    January 24, 2015

    Hi Paule -- thanks so much for another great recipe! Our day cooking together in June is a very happy memory -- such a fun day -- wonderful food and recipes. Thank you so much for agreeing to my private class. I know that is not something that you normally do but I loved spending time with you in your kitchen.

    It is very good to hear from you. I think of you often and we were all terribly upset about the terrorist attack. We were also very upset and embarrassed about Obama not matching with you. We certainly were there in spirit. The world is a scary place these days. It was our plan to visit Normandy this year which would also bring us to Paris. In view of all the unrest in the world maybe will just stay home -- we haven't really decided. In any event I am looking forward to staying in touch via your newsletter. Stay safe and keep on cooking. Hugs! Jane Ellen

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      January 26, 2015

      Dear Jane,

      Thank you for your thoughts. Don't be deterred, do come to visit France again.

      Warm regards to John and you,


  2. Reply


    January 24, 2015

    Meilleurs voeux a tous! Paule, I would never have thought of cornichons as an ingredient, but I will definitely add it next time I make this dish. (Just made it last week, but only with beef shanks, garlic and onion, and a bouquet garni. And red wine of course.) I LOVE your new webiste! very classy. --Domenica

  3. Reply

    Virginia Jasmer

    January 25, 2015

    Just reading the recipe made me feel warm and cozy on a cold winter's day. Will have to try it sometime soon.Thank You Virginia Jasmer in Oregon,USA

  4. Reply


    January 25, 2015

    It is not quite the middle of summer here in Australia but I will copy this wonderful recipe and make sure that it is used to make this marvelous dish when the cold weather returns in June; it sounds too good to miss this winter. Thanks for the comments and recipe.

  5. Reply

    Judy Marshall

    January 25, 2015

    Always enjoy hearing from you. Memories of your class in Paris always warm my heart. Thank you. Judy Marshall

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      February 2, 2015

      Merci Judy,

      nothing can make me happier.

      Take care,


  6. Reply


    January 26, 2015

    I will be making this as soon as the winter arrives, maybe in Autumn, cannot wait!

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      January 26, 2015

      Dear Roz,

      Coming from a fish cooking school founder and instructor, it is appreciated.

  7. Reply

    Steven Kessler

    January 26, 2015

    I was thinking of you and the wonderful cooking lessons as I learned of the terrible events in Paris. We love everything French and extend our deepest sympathies in what must be a trying time.

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      January 26, 2015

      Merci Steve, it is good to read these lines.

      Warm regards,


  8. Reply


    January 26, 2015

    Nice advice about the cuts of meat, Paule. I think serving the marrow bone with toast can make it memorable. I'll print this recipe and carry it with me so next time I'm out I can keep an eye out for the cuts.

  9. Reply

    Wendy Bunce

    January 26, 2015

    Hello dear Paule,
    Thank you for your news. I was delighted to receive your latest email/newsletter/website.
    Years ago my husband Charles & I & our daughter Penny, all spent a wonderful day cooking & then eating a wonderful meal with you & a small group of people, in your Paris apartment. And then you took us all on a lovely tour around some amazing & interesting shops in Paris. We all still remember our time over there with you, with great fondness.
    Over here, we've unfortunately had several years of awful drought in many parts of Australia. However, thankfully these last few weeks, have brought some much needed, decent rainfalls to at least some parts of the parched country, including where we live in North West NSW. What a huge difference rain makes. It's incredibly.
    Anyway, this is just to say that it was great to learn that you are still going strong over there, Paule.
    Kindest regards & our best wishes from Moree,
    Wendy Bunce

  10. Reply


    January 26, 2015

    Happy New Year to you as well!
    Thanks for sending something new for our family to try. Can't wait to share with my hubby!
    Wish we were there now.
    Thérèse Hodges

  11. Reply

    Susan Aaronson

    January 27, 2015

    Bonjour Paule,

    I was delighted to receive the newsletter and the recipe. It's perfect now for Boston as we are in the middle of a huge snow storm. It makes me wish I were back in France, but that must wait until spring.

    I hope the new year brings you all good things.

    Susan Aaronson

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      February 2, 2015

      Dear Susan,
      Thank you for your wishes, and spring in France is something to look forward to.
      Warm regards to you,


  12. Reply

    kandace Menning

    January 28, 2015

    Paule -

    Thanks for the fabulous recipe - Deb ordered this meal at Camille's Restaurant on Saturday before we left and it was wonderful...It was so good to see you and enjoy an evening of wine, food and friendship. Hope it is not another 9 years before I see you again!
    All the best to you and your family - Kandace

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      February 2, 2015

      Chère Kandace,

      making Pot au Feu with Texan meats should be fabulous.

      Definitely come back to Paris before too long,



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