A very old rustic French recipe!
This looks like a lot of food in the large stew bowl, but the cuts of meat are basically soup stock bones with some meat attached. This oven baked pot au feu recipe is very easy to make. This French recipe came from an age long before French cooking became a fine art. The broth is so very rich in flavor! It is worth the wait for this pot au feu to come out of the oven.
Petite marmite refers to the earthenware vessel that a pot au feu was cooked in many centuries ago. Sometimes the earthenware pot stew was started on a fire, then later placed in an oven that was being heated for bread baking. A petite marmite pot au feu is finished in an oven. Clay pots stood less chance of cracking in an oven, than over an open fire.
There are three traditional meals in a true petite marmite pot au feu. Chicken and aromatic vegetables are cooked in an earthenware pot with water to create a broth for the start of the pot au feu. The chicken broth is used to cook the freshly butchered meat bones and scraps later in the day. The first meal of a pitite marmite pot au feu is to eat the chicken that was used to make the broth in the petite marmite pot. The chicken was the mid day meal. The broth was left in the pot for the pot au feu.
Aromatic vegetables were added to the pot after lunch. The second meal from a petite marmite pot au feu was the chicken broth and aromatic vegetable soup. The soup was served in the late afternoon. The afternoon chicken broth and vegetable soup is now referred to as petite marmite or petite marmite soup. Petite marmite soup is a traditional French cafe soup. (I have posted a recipe for the chicken broth and vegetable petite marmite soup in this blog.)
After the petite marmite soup meal, the remaining chicken broth with vegetables in the petite marmite pot was used to cook the lamb, goat, beef or pork bones that were just finished being butchered in the afternoon. Neck bones and other bones that are difficult to cut the meat off of, were the best choice for the petite marmite pot au feu. The meaty bones were added and stewed. The petite marmite pot au feu simmered into the early evening hours. The meat from the bones was tender by this time. The meaty bones, vegetables and rich broth were then served as the petite marmite pot au feu evening meal with bread.
Petite marmite pot au feu does not always look pretty at the end of the day, but the bone meat is tender and the broth is very rich and nutritious. It is the flavor and tradition of a petite marmite pot au feu that counts!
Petite Marmite Pot au Feu Recipe:
This recipe makes enough for 2 to 3 large portions! There is no sauteing or fancy cooking techniques involved with this old rustic French recipe.
Place 1 1/2 quarts of water in a soup pot.
Add 1/2 of a chicken that is cut into quartered pieces.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil over medium heat.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer the chicken for 30 minutes to start the broth.
Add 1 1/2 cups of diced carrot.
Add 1 1/2 cups of diced onion.
Add 1 cup of sliced leek.
Add 1 1/2 cups of diced celery.
Add 2 cups of chopped cabbage.
Add black pepper and sea salt.
Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic.
Add 5 pinches of thyme.
Add 4 pinches of ground sage.
Add 1 bay leaf.
Add 3 pinches of marjoram.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Pour the broth and vegetables into a deep, high sided casserole dish or earthenware pot.
Note: You can remove the chicken from the pot for a meal at this time or leave it in the pot au feu.
Place 12 to 16 ounces of veal neck bone pieces in the petite marmite pot au feu.
Add 8 to 10 ounces of lamb neck bone pieces.
Note: Be sure that the bones have plenty of meat attached.
Place 1 thick 3 to 4 ounce piece of salt pork on top of the broth and vegetables.
Partially cover the casserole with a lid or foil, so the steam is allowed to escape when baking.
Place the petite marmite pot au feu in a 300 degree oven.
Bake the petite marmite pot au feu, till the vegetables become tender and the exposed meat turns a light brown color. This may take about 2 to 3 hours. Add water as necessary, to keep the bones covered with liquid. Bake till the meat on the bones becomes tender.
Remove the bay leaf.
Serve the petite marmite pot au feu in the baking casserole dish or transfer the pot au feu to clean serving bowl.
Serve with rustic French bread.
The first sip of the broth will put a smile on your face! It is very rich from the flavor of the cooked soup neck bones. The meat literally falls off of the bone. The flavor of the salt pork slice permeates the pot au feu with a rich flavor.
The bones are cooked in a similar way as what is used for making a modern meat stock, but with no acidic tomatoes. Stock making is not as old of a cooking technique as making a petite marmite pot au feu. You might say that a petite marmite pot au feu is the grandmother of modern meat stocks!
Petite marmite pot au feu is an exceptionally nice French comfort food entree! So yummy! ... Shawna