The Cottage Smallholder

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Tasty beef pot au feu recipe


Photo: Pot au feu and garden peas

Photo: Pot au feu and garden peas

I remember our best pot-au-feu recipe meal. Years ago Danny and I were in Paris. We had wandered deep into a residential area. Feeling peckish we were on the lookout for a good restaurant but could find nothing. The time was about 7 pm. It was Sunday and the streets were empty.

Then we noticed that people were passing us with a spring to their step – all going in the same direction. Where were they going? Was it Church or could it be a restaurant?  We decided to follow them.

We turned a corner and saw the welcoming lights of a small restaurant. Jubilantly, we stepped inside. It was already packed but we found a table for two and studied the menu. Way off the tourist route, this was clearly going to be a very good meal. The young couple opposite us sat very close together sharing a starter only moving apart when the main course were served and the serious business of eating began.

Danny chose pot au feu. It looked really dull when it arrived but it tasted divine. I made a mental note that one day I would try making pot au feu at home. There was a 25% reduction on Aberdeen Angus top rump of beef this weekend so suddenly it was lift off for the dish.

I didn’t consult any books so my recipe has more liquid than a traditional pot au feu. This was a good move as the liquor tasted superb and it was glorious excuse for dunking crusty bread. I think the pot au feu fairy must have been visiting as this is the best slow cooked beef dish that I have ever made. Melt in the mouth tender beef with comforting vegetables and a liquor/gravy to die for.

I used the slow cooker for this as I truly believe that the slow cooker improves flavours. At a pinch it could be simmered gently on the top of the stove (lid on) or even baked in the oven at 140c for 3 – 3.5 hours.

Tasty beef pot au feu recipe (for 4-5 greedy people)


700g joint of Aberdeen Angus topside beef
1.5 medium red onions roughly chopped
200g of Chantenay carrots (scrubbed and topped and tailed)
150g of celeriac (Peeled and chopped) Secret Ingredient
4 medium potatoes cut into chunks
1 stick of celery cut into large chunky pieces
1 chunky garlic clove (skinned and chopped fine)
2 heaped tbsp of plain flour
1 bouquet garni * I used a French one – 1 bay leaf and twenty sprigs of thyme – Secret Ingredient
Half a tsp of dried savoury (herb)
1 tsp of anchovy sauce (or one anchovy)
1 tsp of Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce)
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp of mushroom ketchup
700 ml of hot beef stock (I used 2 beef stock cubes)


Prepare all the vegetables and put them in the slow cooker. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegetables well.

Form a nest with the vegetables and place the beef in the middle. Scatter over the chopped garlic, savoury and pop in the bouquet garni.

In a measuring jug mix the anchovy sauce, mushroom ketchup, Lea & Perrins, balsamic vinegar and the hot beef stock.

Pour the liquid over the beef and vegetables. Put on the lid and switch to high for an hour. By this time the stock should be bubbling. Turn down to low for a further three hours, check after two and a half hours for tenderness of the beef. Ours took four hours in total.

Serve in warm soup bowls with green beans or peas and hot crusty bread.

  Leave a reply


  1. Hi there,

    I wrote some time ago to thank you for your blog and how it inspired me (us) in so many practical, self-sufficient, money saving ways. Specifically, at the time of writing though your blog had led me to purchase our very own Andrew, much to the bemusement of my ever patient-to-new-gadgetry-partner. Suffice to say Andrew has fitted in well and proved a worthwhile addition to the clutter that is our kitchen.

    So its about time I write again and reiterate my enjoyment and appreciation of your inspiring blog and delicious recipes. Recipes such as this one has meant my partner must roll her eyes once more while I extol the virtues of slow cooking now. ‘Fiona says…’ (you get all the blame). Still, thanks to you and a sale in our local hardware shop, Andrew may soon have a new rival for our affections and we may get even more delicious dishes this winter!

    All the best
    Red x

  2. Kooky Girl

    This looks great. I love French food, and you have added some really tasty ingredients in there – I can practically smell the broth. I will definitely add this to my ‘things I need to make list’. KG

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi KG

      We are having it again tonight – that’s three times this week 🙂

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