Photo: Oxmoor House 
Hands-on Time
20 Mins
Total Time
5 Hours 30 Mins
Serves 6 (serving size: 4 ounces meat and 1 cup vegetables)

This is not a classic pot au feu, in that we're limiting the meat to one cut, but the purpose here is to learn how to control heat in order to convert the collagen to gelatin. The result makes for the most tender and unctious of one-pot meals. Much has been written about all things low and slow, but the key is to maintain a temperature just below boiling, which makes for a magically textured result.

How to Make It

Step 1

Ready an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. This is certainly the time to break out your best one. And, by the way, if you're attempting this recipe, you're a serious cook, so the enameled stuff is supposed to be showcased on your range. Now you know.

Step 2


Step 3

Fill the Dutch oven with 4 cups of cold water. If you'd drink it from your tap, then use tap. Otherwise, use filtered. Add the beef stock, too.

Step 4

Rinse the beef under cold running water. Pat it dry with paper towels.

Step 5

Rub 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the chuck. Think deep tissue massage.

Step 6

Place the salted chuck into the Dutch oven.

Step 7

Smash the peeled garlic cloves with the side of a chef's knife. Please make sure the blade edge is pointing away from your smashing self. Toss them in the pot.

Step 8

Add the black peppercorns, the thyme, the cloves, and the bay leaves.

Step 9


Step 10

Bring the temperature of the liquid up to about 200°. Whatever you can do to keep the temperature constant, do it. If you choose to put a lid on, skew it so you can clearly see inside the pot.

Step 11

Now, do something else. For a while. Like 2 hours.

Step 12

When you return to the pot, assuming you've been able to control the temperature well, the chuck will still look fairly gray and firm, though promising. Be. Patient.

Step 13

There will be some gray froth floating on the surface of the liquid. Skim it off and discard it. You'll have the opportunity to nurture the pot a few times during cooking, so keep the skimming spoon and a small bowl at the ready for your purification ritual.

Step 14

Do more of something else--for another 2 hours.

Step 15


Step 16

Get a clean cutting board ready, and prepare all the vegetables as outlined in the ingredient list.

Step 17

Gently add all of the vegetables to the pot. This is a good time to grab a pair of tongs and marvel at the slow, steady transformation of the chuck.

Step 18

Continue to cook the Pot au Feu, holding the temperature at 200° for another hour or so. The dish is done when both the meat and the vegetables are fork-tender.

Step 19


Step 20

Transfer the meat from the pot to a decent-sized cutting board. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Either slice against the grain in 1/2-inch slabs, or gently break into portions using a pair of kitchen tongs.

Step 21

Remove the vegetables from the pot using a slotted spoon. Arrange naturally on a big platter. Don't be fussy. This is peasant food.

Step 22

Transfer the meat to the platter as well. Make sure to keep it rustic.

Step 23

Ladle a small amount of broth on top and go celebrate with your guests. Wine? Yes.

Step 24

Guajillo Chile Beef Variation:

Step 25

Omit celery root. Double the garlic. Drop in 6 seeded guajillo chiles. Add juice of 1 lime. Add 1 tablespoon favorite Mexican hot sauce.

Step 26

Ladle off half the liquid and blend with softened chiles. Return to pot. Fold to

Step 27


Step 28

Serve with lime wedges, chopped raw onion, and cilantro.

Step 29

Calories 297; FAT 9g (sat 9g); Sodium 620mg

Step 30

Vietnamese Pho-Style Variation:

Step 31

Add the cinnamon stick, and double the cloves. Add a star anise pod and 2 teaspoons fennel seeds.

Step 32

The charred onion becomes a must. Add a 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced lengthwise. Char that, too. Add to the pot.

Step 33

To finish: Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes. Use 1 tablespoon fish sauce in lieu of salt.

Step 34

Calories 311; FAT 8g (sat 3g); Sodium 545mg

Step 35

Italian-Style Variation:

Step 36

Replace the water with canned crushed tomatoes, and use oregano instead of thyme. Omit the clove. Omit the celery root. Double the garlic.

Step 37

Finish with a handful of fresh basil and some red pepper flakes.

Step 38

Calories 332; FAT 2g (sat 3g); Sodium 667mg

Cooking Light Mad Delicious

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