Pot-au-feu Tradition

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Pot-au-feu is probably one of the oldest dishes, as it seems that its history goes as back as French origins. It also seems that this is a form of stew that used to be made in winter over the fire. People used a lot of vegetables and meat and usually mixed whatever ingredients were available to make sure that they cooked something savory and satisfying enough for cold season. This recipe used to be the default recipe for dinner tables and it was widely popular. It also took most of the day to cook as the stew needed to be boiled at low fire and this is why it is only cooked now from time to time or during celebration as a traditional food, even if it is a simple meat dish. Pot-au-feu is actually boiled meat with vegetables, almost like a soup that was cooked in a cauldron style pot during the Middle Ages. This broth was consumed by people every day but recipes published with this dish were only available in the first half of the 19th century. Some historians believe that pot-au-feu rooted from a dish called pot pourri, a dish that was widely popular in 17-18th century and it seems to have appeared with the rise of middle class in France. However, pot pourri is much more complicated than pot-au-feu and uses more ingredients, so at least it wasn’t a popular dish among the major population as most people couldn’t afford it. Another dish that might have inspired the creation of pot-au-feu was hochepot. This is like a pot-au-feu dish but uses vegetables such as artichokes or asparagus and a bigger variety of herbs and spices while the traditional pot-au-feu uses a limited amount of the latter.

Even if pot-au-feu seems like a simple dish there were numerous cookbooks that showed people how to make sure that they cook the stew in the perfect manner, as some might want to obtain a certain gelatinous texture to it. Cooked to perfection or not, pot-au-feu still remains one of the most important dishes in France and definitely a healthy way to enjoy traditional cooking.

Comments are closed.