Pot-au-feu, home is where the heart is

It is said Vietnam’s national dish “PHO” is oriented from its French colonization period from a famous dish called Pot-au-feu. Its recipe is loosely defined as beef chunks and a variety of vegetables cooked in an iron cast post for a long period of time. My husband’s aunt has spent years in France to accompany her husband for a doctorate study in sociology, whose tuition is generously paid by the French government. In years of lunar new year gatherings, many exciting stories have been shared to us about their stay there. Last year I have brought a cast iron pot and many ingredients to their new apartment and prepare a lunch for the elderly couples. It was such a memorable event as the fruition of so many lovely stories made.

Pot au feu ingredient

To fully utilize my investment in a STAUB cast iron pot.  Below is one recipe of my recent take on it.

Preparation 30 minutes

Overall cooking time: 90-120 minutes

Skill level: Easy


1/2 Black bone chicken cut in large chunks (Naturally raised chicken)

Organic onion                 1 large cut into chunks

Organic carrots               2 large sliced and cut into chunks

Organic celery                 4 stalks cut into chunks

Dried Shiitake mushrooms 10 medium (soaked in water for over 1 hour and save the the soaking water)

Asparagus                        1 bunch (about 16)

White grape wine          1 cup

Nutmeg                             ground from 1/4 whole nutmeg

Salt and black pepper to taste

Sunflower oil                   1 tablespoon


  1. Warm the pot in low heat till warm, add the oil to saute the onion till translucent, add the chicken and carrot, mushroom and its soaking water, wine, nutmeg, black pepper, 3-4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook with medium to low heat until the meat can almost fall from the bone, add celery and asparagus and salt till vegetable are cooked but still slightly crunchy.
  3. Serve in bowls. Steamed rice or baguette are suggest accompanying starch for this dish.

Enjoy.  This is one dish you want to cook often as almost everyone likes it.

Variations of this recipe:

Use beef shanks (the whole shank, not cut), slice cooked beef in 1-2 cm slices and serve with Dijon mustard if preferred.

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