electronic Gourmet Guide


Pot-au-Feu...A Pot on the Stove

by Prof. Steve Holzinger


Now that Autumn is just beginning, we can begin to think again of warming soups and meals made in one pot, simmering on the stove. While they do take some time to prepare, these meals don't take a great deal of attention for most of the time that you cook them. All you need to do is keep checking on them for proper doneness. Simmering slowly on the back of the kitchen range, these hearty foods perfume the whole kitchen, no, the whole house, a rich fragrant aroma that for me has associations of family and home. It is the smell of chilly days and satisfying old fashioned food that reminds us of our grandmother's cooking.

From a culinary point of view, Pot-au-Feu or Petite Marmite is important because it illustrates the difference in strength and flavor of finished broths, stocks made of meat, also known as consomme. The Petite Marmite is the richest of the stockpot soups, richer even than clarified consomme. Whenever I had an important party where I was serving Chefs, or culinary societies, I would make a consomme using shin meat, oxtail and fowl for the stock, and serve it clear and ungarnished. Chefs were always impressed by the clarity and depth of flavor achieved. Once again, the power of simplicity is apparent and these two essentials are what you should be aiming at when you make this classic.


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


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

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Modified July 2007