There has been a long string of very grey and wet days and this past week the temperatures finally dipped down below freezing. We had a brief flash of sunlight this morning but by lunch the clouds had gathered together again and the winds were back. A slow cooked, richly flavored winter dish was called for to help us cozy-in for the afternoon.
There is a quintessential French dish known as 'Pot-au-Feu', traditionally a slow cooked 'stew' of meat and vegetables cooked directly on an open fire. Everything is cooked slowly in lots of broth, and there is plenty left after cooking to make soup. When we go to the market, there are even large burlap sacks of 'pot-au-feu' vegetables for sale, perfectly portioned to make a very large-family-size meal.
My choice of vegetables today was based on what we found on Friday evening when we visited our local 'bio ferme' (organic), Le Chateau, so along with the expected carrots and onions and leeks, I also added parsnips (instead of turnips) and couldn't resist a huge head of 'chou' so that went into the pot as well.
'Poule au Pot' or Chicken Pot au Feu.....
1 large hen (or chicken)
3 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. duck fat
1 onion or 4 shallots
4 large carrots
1 large leek
1/2 head cabbage
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups broth
8 whole sage leaves
salt & pepper
Herb de Provence
Wash and prep the onions and root vegetables, skin and chop as you like and set aside. In a large iron dutch oven, melt the duck fat with the olive oil. Place whole chicken in the pot and brown skin on all sides. Add onions, carrots, parsnips, and leek and toss to coat with oil and fat. Sprinkle with herbs and salt and pepper.
Cover pot and put it in a very hot oven (about 475 F) for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and add wine and broth and sage leaves.
Cook for an additional hour with lid on. In the final 20 minutes add chopped cabbage.
Serve in bowls with a generous amount of broth. It's a perfect meal for a wet-wintery day!
Posted by Cat @ Sunday Brocantes, France