Why It Works
- Choosing the right cuts of beef ensure meat that's silky and tender, not tough and dry.
- Adding the vegetables at the end guarantees they cook until soft and buttery but still retain their flavor.
- A pressure cooker's high temperature greatly speeds up the transformation of tough cuts of beef into succulent ones.
Pot-au-feu (pot on the fire) is one of France's most famous home-cooked dishes. It features an assortment of beef cuts and vegetables, all simmered in a flavorful broth until buttery and tender. The art of it comes down to selecting the right cuts of beef, and ensuring each one, plus all the vegetables, are cooked perfectly. This recipe uses a pressure cooker to greatly speed up the cooking time, making this a realistic weeknight meal.
- 2 pounds (900g) boneless beef chuck roast, tied into a tight cylinder
- 1 pound (450g) bone-in beef short ribs
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 whole yellow onion, halved and stuck with 4 cloves in total
- 1 small head garlic, papery skin left on and head cut in half crosswise
- 1 rib celery
- 15 whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher or sea salt
- 5 small Yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds/680g total), pierced all over with a fork
- 2 medium leeks (1 pound/450g total), trimmed of root end and darkest green top and washed very well
- 5 medium carrots (10 ounces/280g total), peeled or scrubbed
- 1/4 head green or Savoy cabbage
- 1 medium (4-ounce/115g) turnip, peeled and quartered
- 1 medium (5-ounce/140g) parsnip, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 1 pound (450g) beef marrow bones (about 3), optional
- Toast for the marrow bones, if using
- Mustard, grated horseradish, and cornichons, for condiments
In a pressure cooker, combine beef chuck, short ribs, thyme, onion, garlic, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Top with enough cold water to just cover and season with a very generous pinch of salt.
Top with enough cold water to cover (be sure not to surpass the cooker's max fill line). Close cooker, bring to high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Depressurize cooker using rapid release method.
Strain broth, discarding thyme, onion, garlic, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Return beef and broth to pressure cooker. Skim broth of any fat or scum.
Add potatoes, leeks, carrots, cabbage, turnip, parsnip, and marrow bones, if using, to pressure cooker, making sure all are submerged in the broth with the beef (add more water if necessary, again being careful not to surpass the cooker's max fill line).
Return pressure cooker to high pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Depressurize cooker using rapid release method. At this point both the beef and vegetables should be very tender (if not, return to high pressure and cook for 5 minutes longer).
Transfer meats and vegetables to a platter, bathing with broth to keep moist. Season broth with salt. Serve broth as a soup, and the meats and vegetables as the main course; the marrow bones can be served with toasts (spread the marrow on the toasts and season with salt). Pass more salt at the table for seasoning the meats, along with mustard, grated horseradish, and cornichons.