The national dish of France is Pot-au-Feu (Pot of Fire) and is a classic comfort dish prepared using stewed meats and vegetables. 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.
It is difficult to know when the name pot-au-feu first appeared and when its meaning changed to describe the dish instead of the pot in which it is cooked. While pot was used to describe the rounded pot to cook on the fire at least since the 11th century (even in English), there seems to be no written trace of pot-au-feu until 1673. In 1600, King Henry IV of France (1553-1610) declared, "I want no peasant in my kingdom to be so poor that he cannot have a poule au pot on Sundays." Poule au pot literally means "chicken in the pot" and the so-called traditional recipe resembles the one of "pot-au-feu". However, peasants' food was mainly based on bread (c. 500 g/day), root vegetables, in-season vegetables and soup. They rarely ate meat except salted pork, hog-grease, bacon, or other meat, whether it was during religious celebrations or when they dared to poach game from their lord's land. For people living in towns, it was easier to buy inexpensive pieces of meat, which needed long cooking times.
The method of cooking all food together and for extended periods of time (the whole day sometimes) gave what was called a "pot-pourri" in French and imported into English in the early 17th century. The relation between pot-pourri and pot-au-feu was attested in 1829 in the Etymologic dictionary of the French language: "Pot pourri. The name our fathers gave to the pot-au-feu".
France, in Western Europe, encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. Paris, its capital, is famed for its fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The country is also renowned for its wines and sophisticated cuisine. Lascaux’s ancient cave drawings, Lyon’s Roman theater and the vast Palace of Versailles attest to its rich history.
Ingredients - Serves 4
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP Olive oil 1.3 lbs blade pot roast cut into large cubes 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp white flour (all purpose) 2 1/2 cups beef broth 1 bay leaf 2 tsp herbes de Provence
3 sprigs of Thyme
1 TBSP parsley
1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp salt 1 tsp ground pepper 3 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 Celery stalk cut into chunks 2 Leeks 5 cups green cabbage 8 small red potatoes, whole