At this point I am hoping that not all English people think French cuisine is croque monsieur, steak frites or fussy little bite sized plates of over-touched, over-priced food! In truth, the best French cuisine happens in the kitchen of every household everyday, so this is why I'm here to pass these local recipes on.
Every region in France has their regional favourites, from Normandy where apples, cream & cheese are the local produce so it's inevitable that these ingredients feature highly in local dishes, to Provence where tomatoes, olives & fish are included in a lot of dishes and don't even get me started on the wines & spirits.
But there is one dish which unites the whole of France and has done for centuries....
Pot au Feu (pot on the fire) is a dish which unites the richest & poorest dinner tables from north south, east and west. It's a really slow cooked dish using beef or pork and if you use chicken its called a 'Poule au Pot'. It's a very popular family sunday dish and the recipe hasn't really changed since the 1600s. So if you visit France during the winter months and you see this on a menu at restaurant, order it! Trust me!
Come winter time every supermarket has all the ingredients bundled together to make it super easy! So pick up the pork, beef or chicken options.
So I picked up a cut of pork, the english equivalent would be knuckle shank and smoked sausages. To which you simply add water, herbs, garlic & spices and root vegetables. Amazing how just 4 ingredients can make something which tastes as good as this! It is then left for 3 hours or more to bubble away and then as my own addition, I used the cooking liquid to cook lentils and then added fresh parsley and peas. But you could use the liquid to cook rice, pasta etc, just don't throw it away, I personally love lentils and love cooking them!
This isn't a meal for two but rather a family and friends meal for 6. As I write this, the house is full of a heady mix of delicious smells, my daughter walked in and said 'what's cooking mummy? It smells amazing!'
As the festive season approaches and while you are at the butchers ordering turkeys, hams etc, add a pork knuckle shank to the list, you can then feed a table of hungry mouths ever so simply! Put the pot on the stove and go out! Come back and its done!!! Voila