Pot au Feu




  • 3 quarts chicken broth or 3 quarts water
  • 3 1/2 pound first cut brisket
  • 4 (3/4 to 1 pound) beef shanks with marrow bone in center
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 8 carrots, peeled and sliced in half crosswise
  • 8 small red potatoes, cleaned
  • 8 medium leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and cut lengthwise leaving the root attached
  • Salt to taste
  • Dijon mustard
  • Horseradish cream
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Gherkins
  • French bread


  1. In a large soup or stock pot combine the stock or water, brisket, beef shanks and bouquet garni on medium heat. Make sure that the beef is well covered with liquid. Bring to a gentle simmer, uncovered, making sure it does not come to a rolling boil, about 20-30 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and skim the scum and froth from the top.
  2. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer the meat for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Skim the soup periodically to remove the impurities. Remove the meat to a platter, using a fork and a slotted spoon. Cover the meat with foil to keep warm.
  3. Add the vegetables and salt, and gently simmer on medium-low heat for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Discard the bouquet garni.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking place the mustard, horseradish cream, sea salt and gherkins in small ramekins. Place on the serving table. Slice the bread and place in a basket for serving.
  5. Place the brisket and shank meat on a cutting board. Thinly slice the brisket against the grain and break up the shank meat into pieces. Taste the soup and season to taste if necessary.
  6. Place some meat and vegetables in each soup bowl and ladle over the broth and serve immediately. Serve with the condiments. Pass sliced bread to dip in the soup.


  • To make a bouquet garni, cut a double thickness of cheesecloth into a 4-inch square; place 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 1 small leek (white part only) on top; tie with kitchen twine.
  • Use any leftover meat for salads or sandwiches
  • If you prefer to serve this in 2 courses, cook some tiny pasta with the broth and serve it first; than arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter and serve with the condiments

Serves 8 people.



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