One of the things I enjoy about travelling is discovering new flavours. It’s true that it can become a little bit challenging when travelling to countries where meat is the predominant ingredient. However, choosing to maintain a plant-based diet also makes my life more exciting and allows my creativity to flow.
A few years back I discovered the French Pot-au-Feu. Every time I come back to France I have to have it!
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.” The name translates to “pot on the fire” as this is how this dish got its start, a pot always left to simmer in the hearth. It is composed of winter vegetables that keep well, the original version also has pork belly, marrow bones and cheap cuts of beef, which combined give lots of flavour and body to the broth. The veggie version is just as delicious! Adding chickpea and quinoa gives it texture and makes it a complete meal.
So it’s definitely nothing fancy. Pot-au-feu is one of my favourite comfort foods and it’s perfect for our Canadian winter months. We will try to make it at our next Bliss Weekend at Mansfield February 24-26, 2017.
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
6 whole cloves
2 leeks stalks, cleaned and chopped – keep one outer leaf
2 springs of fresh parsley
2 springs of fresh thyme
2 springs of fresh oregano
1 dried bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrots, largely chopped
1 cup of pumpkin, butternut squash, or zucchini, largely chopped
1 turnip, parsnip, or potato, largely chopped
½ small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
½ small head of green cabbage, largely chopped
6-8 cups vegetable broth (start with 6 cups and add more if needed – you can also use plain water)
1 15oz can of crushed tomatoes (organic, BPA free)
1 15oz can of chickpeas (organic, BPA free – or approx. 1.5 cup cooked)
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
1/2 tbsp. turmeric
1 bunch of Swiss chard or Spinach, roughly chopped and ribs removed.
1 cup cooked quinoa (follow package instructions)
2 tbsp. olive oil
What to do
- Once the onion is prepared, prick each half with the cloves and place it in a large pressure cooker or soup pot.
- Prepare the leeks by first slicing them in half down the middle and washing in between each leaf very well to remove all the dirt. Then, chop off the roots and remove one outer leaf. Gather the fresh herbs in a small bundle and wrap the leek leaf around the herbs to create a bouquet garni. Tie into a cylinder shape with a piece of twine. Chop the remainder of the leeks, leaving about an inch of the green tops to discard. Place the herb bundle and sliced leeks in the pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except the last three) and heat over high until simmering.
- If using the pressure cooker, close it and bring to pressure. Then turn to low and maintain pressure. Cook for about 10 minutes. The vegetables should be tender, but not falling apart.
- If using a soup pot, bring almost to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until a fork can pierced all vegetables.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and wait until the chard withers (if using chard, make sure you have removed the ribs)
- Serve hot with coarse salt, harissa, or hot sauce.