06 October 2016

La potée à ma façon

So it's back to wintertime food. It's cold this morning, and the weather, while clear and sunny, stays chilly until mid-afternoon. Since our main meal is lunch, hearty foods are back in the meal plans.


This is what is called a potée, and in France each region — probably each cook — has a slightly different recipe. The French-English dictionary says it's called a "hotpot" in English, but I've never used that term. I think "hodgepodge" is a related word. I think I'd call the potée a boiled dinner. In France, the ingredients are pork, cabbage, and potatoes, with other vegetables as available. Made with beef it would be a pot au feu, and with chicken a poule au pot. I first learned to make potées from a woman who ran a charcuterie (pork butcher/deli) on the rue Montorgueil in Paris more than 30 years ago. She seemed to enjoy telling me what to make with, and how to cook, the products she sold.


I made my latest potée with Tuscan "dinosaur" kale instead of cabbage. I cooked the kale with onions and carrots in chicken broth seasoned with bay leaves, black pepper, and allspice. When the kale and carrots were tender (after 60 to 90 minutes of cooking), I added chunks of potato, turnip, and rutabaga to the pot and let that cook for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pan I poached a couple of sausages (one smoked Montbéliard, and one plain Toulouse) and two slices of smoked pork belly (poitrine fumée). When all the vegetables were cooked, I added the meats and some of their poaching liquid (fat skimmed off) to the pot for extra flavor. We enjoyed the potée. Now I can make soup with the leftover broth and vegetables.

13 comments:

chm said...

On shelves in a small supermarket near me in Paris, you can find canned potée auvergnate. I tried it once and it was very good.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Why not? I have a can of cassoulet down in the cellar that we can eat on a day when there's no time to cook.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I'm surprised that you didn't mention the rutabagas. I found they needed more time to cook than the turnips and potatoes needed. But they weren't bad.

Autolycus said...

"Hotpot" in England would usually imply "Lancashire hotpot" which is lamb cutlets, potatoes and onions, prepared in much the same way. But I think the northern French/Belgian "hochepot" is pretty close to this, though "hodge-podge/hotch-potch" might be more related to the Dutch/Flemish "hutspot", which is mashed potatoes and carrots and such like, usually with a sausage or piece of braised meat.

chm said...

Of course, you haven't the slightest idea of what it was to be a teenager in Paris during the German Occupation in the early '40s.

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

Oooh, I'll bet that broth is tasty. Yumm :)

Ken Broadhurst said...

Our neighbors M. and B., who are 5 or 6 years your juniors, won't eat pumpkin or winter squash because they say that's all they had to eat during the war. I had an uncle in N.C. who wouldn't eat seafood because he said that was all they had to eat in the 1930s -- fish, oysters, clams, mussels... He was disgusted by all that.

Ken Broadhurst said...

It was all delicious. The broth will make good soup with the rest of the vegetables cut into cubes and cooked up in it.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks, P., for that information. The different French versions have white beans and other vegetables in them. I have to admit that I really like the sausages and smoked pork belly.

chm said...

Yes, I agree. That's what it is.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

This all looks delicious. I cannot remember whether you have told us if your garden is organic. I think perhaps it is.

Evelyn said...

Interesting conversation. I can't imagine what it must have been like. I've been taking care of my 3 month old granddaughter and she is unhappy if her mother didn't pump the correct amount of milk for her feedings. Can you imagine not having enough food for your children or babies?!!

C in California said...

Your dish is a model for dinner tonight, but with chicken and collards.... Thanks!