How To Make French Pot–Au–Feu

From classics coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon to the more acquired delicacies of frogs’ legs and snails, the culinary delights of France are many and varied. Why not try your hand at cooking the French way with this simple version of pot-au-feu a stew of beef or chicken that is celebrated throughout the country.

You will need

  • 1kg whole free-range chicken
  • 6 large carrots, trimmed
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 6
  • 2 celery sticks, each cut into 4 lengths
  • Quarter of a white cabbage, shredded
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 20g fresh flatleaf parsley, stalks & leaves separated and chopped
  • 100g pearl barley


  1. Place the chicken in a large saucepan. Add the carrots, onions, celery, pearl barley, parsley stalks, peppercorns, bay leave and thyme. Pour over the stock and 4 cups of cold water.
  2. Slowly bring to the boil, over and simmer for 1 hour, then uncover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Place a wooden spoon in the chicken’s cavity and carefully lift it from the pan. Remove the peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and parsley stalks from the stock.
  4. Using a ladle, skim off any scum or fat from the surface. Then, using a fork, remove the flesh of the chicken from the carcass. Discard the skin and add the meat back to the stock, along with the parsley leaves and the cabbage.
  5. Bring the stock back to the boil, taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with crusty bread or potatoes.