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electronic Gourmet Guide

 

Flavor: How Long & What to Cook

 

Another thing you will need to consider is the individual cooking times of the meat, poultry and vegetables you use. They are all different. You can put them in at staggered intervals, first the meat, then the poultry and the vegetables last, so that everything will be finished cooking all together. I find this too difficult to gage with any precision, so I start everything together and remove things as they are done, which is much easier to tell by tenderness. I cook the vegetables peeled, but whole, and cut them up afterwards. Parsnips even keep their tops until serving time.

Choices, choices, choices! Will it be chicken, or beef, or both? Will we use a stewing fowl, a plump roaster, or economical legs and thighs, rump of beef, brisket, chuck, short ribs, or even nicely browned breast of veal? The good news is that you can't go wrong! I have made this dish with great gastronomic success using inexpensive chicken thighs and legs and chuck steak, when money was short.

Years ago, when I worked for my father, I made it for the help, using short ribs and turkey wings which were byproducts. "Boiled bones," the help called it, but they ate it in great quantities with great gusto. "Hey Slim, pass the bones, and the chrane (horseradish) too." They were talking to me! The chef told my father that I had a talent for making it, the best complement I ever got. Escoffier is said to have preferred to eat meat and vegetables from the stock pot instead of the elaborate rich cuisine he fed his patrons. He knew.

As a matter of fact, one way of getting a rich flavor is to use some inexpensive oxtail in it. A little goes a long way, and the bone chewers in my family delight in it. It is a family soup, and so you can roll up your sleeves and chew on a bone. When I give you a recipe like this, please alter it to taste and circumstances. I rarely if ever make it exactly the same way. Nothing pleases me more than to hear, "Oh, this is a good one! What did you do different?" If it is my wife saying that, chances are I got my hands on some fresh parsnips with the tops and a ferny bunch of dill. She loves parsnips in soup, and is a sucker for dill! The tops of parsnips are called hamish parsley, and have incredibly good flavor and aroma, and the parsnips themselves are very sweet, and the aroma of dill in this soup sends your nose to heaven.

 
Pot-au-Feu
 

© 1997, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.

 

This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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Modified July 2007


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