Pot au feu

Provides a good beef stock that can be reduced and then frozen or reduced even further and clarified to become a glace de viande (meat glaze).

8 short ribs shank  (meat bone in)
1 large onion sliced
1 small onion pricked with 2 cloves
8 carrots
2 leeks
2 celery stalks
2 cloves of garlic
bouquet garni (bay leaf, parsley, thyme)
12 small potatoes

  • Brown the sliced onion in one tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Add the meat then the water to cover.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes, skimming off the scum.
  • Add bouquet garni, garlic, and onion with cloves.
  • Simmer covered for 2 hours.
  • Add water if necessary.
  • Put a minimum of salt.
  • Add carrots, leeks, and celery stalks and cook for another hour.

To serve:

  • Strain the broth and reserve the meat and vegetables.
  • Keep warm.
  • Reduce the broth by boiling it quickly.
  • Then add salt and pepper as needed.
  • In the meantime, cut thin slices of the meat and arrange on a serving platter surrounded by the vegetables.

How to use the broth:

  • Serve the broth in a bowl with toasted French bread covered with grated cheese.
  • Make glace de viande:
    • First the stock (about 1 quart) must be perfectly degreased to be clarified.
    • This clarification process is accomplished by beating egg whites into cold stock, heating it to just below the simmer for 15 minutes.
    • Strain the liquid very gently.
    • Reduce to a syrup that becomes hard jelly when cold.
    • 1 quart of stock will reduce to 1/2 cup.

It can keep for weeks under refrigeration or can be frozen.

Soupe au pistou

This soup owes its name to the pistou paste (pesto) which is added before serving and consist of fresh basil, garlic and olive oil. In summertime when the tomatoes are good, their pulp can be added to the pistou paste. A traditional dish such as this one does not have a recipe set in stone. Each family has its own variation.

Soup

1/2 lb of beans – a mixture of pinto beans (or red kidney beans) and navy beans
1/4 lb of fresh lima beans if available
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 lb of green beans
4 onions
2 leeks
4 or 5 celery stalks
6 carrots
6 zucchinis
1 small head of green cabbage
2 or 3 potatoes (optional)
3 Tbsp of olive oil
Bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf and parsley)
salt and pepper 
parmesan cheese

  • Follow the instructions on bean packages since some varieties of beans should be soaked overnight.  Dry beans need to be parboiled, so cook them for about 1/2 hour in 8 cups of salted water and let them soak.
  • In the meantime, string the green beans if needed, snap off ends and cut into pieces.
  • Peel and slice the leeks, the onions, the celery and the carrots.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes if you include them.
  • Dice the zucchini, unpeeled.
  • Coarsely chop the cabbage.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
  • Add the onions and the leeks.
  • Cook on medium high until golden brown (be careful not to burn).
  • Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with all the other vegetables including the fresh lima beans.
  • Add enough water to cover the vegetables.
  • Add the bouquet garni, salt and pepper.
  • Cook slowly, covered, for 1 1/2 hour or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the pistou to the soup and cook a few more minutes.
  • Serve immediately with some parmesan cheese.

Pistou

2 cups of fresh basil
4 to 6 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of olive oil

Place garlic, basil, salt and pepper in a food processor or a mortar and blend to a smooth paste.  Slowly pour in the olive oil.  Put in a bowl and cover with a thin layer of olive oil if not used immediately.

Leeks in puff pastry

2 1/2 cups of leeks (white of 4 leeks, minced and washed) or 6 yellow onions
3 Tbsp of butter
salt, black pepper, nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 cup of crème fraiche (heavy cream is ok)
q/4 cup of gruyere or swiss cheese
Puff pastry with 6 turns
Glaze: 1 egg yolk & 1/2 Tbsp of water

  • Melt the butter in a pan until it sizzles.  Add leeks and coat them with the butter.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes over low heat.  Make sure the leeks do not burn.
  • Pour the heavy cream and cook for another 15 minutes or until it thickens.
  • Cool while you grate the cheese.  Mix together and refrigerate until cold.
  • Cut two thirds of the puff pastry and refrigerate the rest. Then cut the two third piece in half.   Put the other half in the refrigerator.
  • With some flour on the pastry surface, roll out the remaining half into a 10 inch square of equal thickness.  Freeze on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.
  • Do the same thing for the other half.
  • Place a 10″ pot lid over each square and cut 2 perfect circles.  Freeze them for another 15 minutes.
  • Cover one of the circles with the leek mixture leaving a 3/4″ edge free all around and brush it with cold water.
  • Cover the filling with the second circle and press the edges all the way around.  Be sure both circles are flush all around the edges.  Prick the edge all around with a fork.
  • Refrigerate until needed.
  • To cook preheat oven 450°F.
  • Decorate the top of the pie by drawing parallel lines 3/4″ apart, then all the way across the previous lines to make a diamond shape figure.
  • Brush the glaze over the top and bake for 10 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven.
  • Then reduce temperature to 400°F and bake for 30 more minutes.  Cover the top with foil toward the end of baking if necessary.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.