Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: About 2 1/2 hours
How best to explain "la potée?" It's like the fall garden put into a soup pot, served with braised meats as you would do with sauerkraut. It's a unique dish served with toasted country bread.
As with many traditional recipes, the potée of the Auvergne is made up of simple ingredients: cabbage, potatoes, lean bacon, pork hocks and sausage, all cooked together in a pot. Then the drained cabbage is braised in another dish with some lean bacon. All that's left is to serve the cabbage with the potatoes, sausages and meat, with some broth ladled over top. Even today, old-timers from the region like to line their bowls with thick slices of rye bread over which they pour the "juice" from the potée to make it soft, with a piece of salt pork, sausage and cabbage… a tradition that goes far back in time. A bard from the Cantal named Vermenouze even claimed that lentils were part of the dish.
In some regions 250 g (half a pound) of white beans that have been soaked overnight are added and cooked in the two broths with the cabbage.
In Bearn, green beans are added instead; the dish is cooked in chicken broth and a few smoked sausages replace the raw sausage.
- Tie the garlic and bouquet garni into a piece of cheesecloth;
- place all the meat except the sausage into a large pot or Dutch oven; cover with cold water; bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes, skimming often;
- remove the fat from the broth, add the carrots, turnip, onions, celery and leeks, all coarsely chopped; reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes; skim the fat again if necessary;
- meanwhile cut the cabbage into quarters; blanch for 5 minutes in boiling water in a separate pot; rinse under cold water; drain and place in the pot with the other vegetables and the meat;
- cook 30 minutes longer; check the doneness of the meat with a fork; when cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm in a bowl of broth;
- 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the potatoes and sausage, pricked with a fork, to the pot; cook at a bare simmer.
- Drain the meats and place in a deep dish;
- drain the vegetables and arrange them around the meat;
- slice the sausage and place on top;
- grill slices of country bread and place them in a tureen;
- pour the broth over top; correct the seasoning;
- serve everything very hot.
A full-bodied red such as a Cahors or Madiran
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