Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Authentic French Meal, Even in Mexico

The ingredients for Pot Au Feu are so "basic", "from scratch", "whole" that we can find them even in Mexico.  However, while the ingredients are simple, excluding the veal and oxtail, I didn't even bother with those, the process of creating Pot Au Feu is....um...well...not as simple.  Two days, brine soaking, bouquet garni, multi pot not as simple to be exact.  So why would one go to the grand extreme of creating this rather extravagant dish.  Perhaps a very important guest or an elegant party. Truth be told, I'm not sure how I landed exactly on Pot Au Fue, I must have been quite hungry and overly energized from a good nights sleep or stout cup of coffee.  The kind that makes you feel you can take on the world and you pretty much do until the three hour expiration on energy runs out.  That's why I stick to the green smoothies, much more consistent on their energy output.  Anyway, I've wandered far from the main point.
We were studying the country of France in school and the lesson plans suggested making the flag of France from colored construction paper, which was the same activities we had done several countries ago.  They did a great job on those flag by the way.  I'll post pictures of them below.  I gave them no guidance, only a photo of the flag and construction paper in those colors and all four made the same flag in a different way, which I thought was pretty cool.  As much fun as flag making is, the French flag is not exactly a challenge, so I thought it would be more fun and educational to create an authentic French dish.  So with the word challenge in the back of my coffee fueled mind and google at my fingers tips (this is a dangerous combo), as I said I may have been a little hungry too, making the famous and very complicated meat heavy dish of Pot Au Feu appeared upon my screen as a great idea.  After all didn't some other chic make a whole cook book of French food and blogged about it.
So we first found all the ingredients we could at the market and stores, than we sent Sam to the butcher for the meat.  I ended up going with the brisket, short ribs, and beef bones, leaving out the veal cuts.  I did put the oxtail on the list, but sadly, even with charades this could not be ordered.  Then we created a brine and soaked our meats overnight.  Then we cooked our meats and bones with our herbs and spices and water until we had the most fantastic tasting meat and broth you have ever tasted, I'm actually being very serious here, it was good.  Then you remove the meat and cook the vegetables in the heavenly broth.  THEN you serve it with a French bread, of course, and a variety of sauces you've also made while waiting for all this brining and cooking and removing and chopping and cooking.  While we ate we shared some of the facts about Europe and France we had been learning with dad.  Huh, maybe I should rename this post homeschool overkill: when mom gets more excited about the unit study than is really necessary.  Well anyway, it made three absolutely delicious meals.  Which was really surprising because the food in France seemed somewhat bland to me when we visited.  I guess we picked the wrong restaurants or just order the wrong things.  And really, I've tackled much larger culinary feats for much less honorable reasons.  Click the link to see the bonappetit.com recipe we mostly followed.

We used cabbage from the garden.  Isn't she a beauty!

Homemade "French" Bread

Pot au Fue: literally meaning pot in the fire. 

It was recommended to serve in with a French mustard.

Looks humble, but it is absolutely heavenly.

OK, sorry about the million pictures, but I'm sure the grandparents won't be complaining.  The flag of Norway is supposed to be robin red, royal blue and white.  However, I only had pinkish, light blue and off-white, being the ubber organized home schooler I am.  Anyway, any homeschooler will have enough imagination to work with this small setback. 

And finally, I think they were supposed to be cleaning their room.  I'm not sure if this is Ferdinand the Bull or the Texas Longhorn.  Until next time, Blessings from Mexico.

Excited to be doing a link-up with my good friend and one of my favorite bloggers, Sara Elizabeth, over at A Mama's Story.


  1. I saw I had a new link-up and thought, Wow! That looks just like Adelina! LOL And then I clicked on it! So fun to have you participate. I hope you'll share more in weeks to come. :) I bet you could just go back to the beginning and recycle all of your posts. :)

  2. love your "go with it" attitude when it comes to crafting with what you have on hand! i am not the organized type because my kids will destroy whatever system i get together! haha..
    like your blog! found it via link up too :)


Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts with me.