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Catholic Recipe: Pot-au-Feu


  • 2-1/2 quarts cold water
  • 2 pounds lamb shank or chuck beef, cut in chunks
  • 1 cracked knuckle bone or marrow bone
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small turnip
  • 3 leeks (white parts only)
  • 1 whole onion, stuck with 1 clove
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • bouquet garni*
  • Details

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: France

Also Called: Beef or Lamb Broth, Beef or Lamb Stock

St. Ives, also called Yves or Yve, lived in Brittany, France during the thirteenth century. A lawyer, judge, and man of great wealth, he chose to live as a Franciscan tertiary, devoting himself to the care of the poor. He liked nothing better than to defend the needy, the widowed, and the orphaned, and he never charged a fee. Although he objected out of humility, he was compelled by his bishop to receive Holy Orders. Before entering the priesthood, he willed his manor to the poor. After his death, the poor always came there to be fed on the eve and day of his feast. Legend has it that on one of these occasions there were so many beggars that it was feared the food would give out before all could be fed. But as fast as the soup was dipped out, the kettles miraculously refilled, and no one went hungry. This beef or lamb broth is a suitable way to remember this generous saint.

May 19 is his feast day, although it is not celebrated on the universal Roman Calendar. He is mentioned in the 1961 Roman Martyrology: "In Brittany, St. Yves, Priest and Confessor, who for the love of Christ defended the cause of the orphan, the widow and the poor."


* Bouquet garni: Tie in a bunch 3 sprigs rosemary, 4 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 2 sprigs fresh thyme. If fresh herbs are unavailable, 1/4 teaspoon each dried herbs with 1 bay leaf may be substituted. Tie in a cheesecloth bag; add to pot during last 30 minutes of cooking.

Put water and lamb or beef in large earthenware kettle with cover; tie knuckle bone in cheesecloth; add. Bring slowly to boil. Skim well as fat comes to surface. Cut cleaned carrots and turnip in strips 1 to 3 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide; add with leeks, onion, and salt to pot. Bring to boiling point; skim again. Cover; simmer 2-1/2 hours; add bouquet garni; simmer 30 minutes longer or until stock is a clear amber. Remove bone, onion, and bouquet garni. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965
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