Pot-au-feu is a French beef stew. According to the chef Raymond Blanc, pot-au-feu is "the quintessence of French family cuisine, it is the most celebrated dish in France. It honours the tables of the rich and poor alike."
• 1 x 2kg/5lb piece beef brisket
• 30g/1oz tongue
• selection of vegetables, such as leeks, carrots, celery, onions, parsnips, turnips and butternut squash, cut into pieces
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• bouquet garni (made with flatleaf parsley, thyme and bay leaves)
• 2 boiling sausages
• 3 tomatoes
• 2 handfuls spaghetti, broken into pieces
1. Put the beef and the tongue in a very large pan and cover with cold water. Bring slowly to the boil, removing the scum that will form on the surface of the water, using a slotted spoon.
2. Add the chopped vegetables to the pan along with the salt and freshly ground black pepper and the bouquet garni. Simmer, covered, for two hours over a low heat.
After two hours, add the chicken and sausages to the pan. Simmer for a further two hours until all of the meat is tender and cooked through. Take the pan off the heat.
Carefully remove the meat and vegetables from the pan and keep warm.
3. Put the pan back on the heat, and, when simmering, add the spaghetti. Cook for a further 7-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked through.
Serve the broth first and then the warmed meat on the side, along with some mustard and gherkins.
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