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A beef and vegetable stew, traditionally served in two stages. The first stage is a soup, a dark and flavoursome consommé, and the second a hearty dish of boiled beef with poached vegetables. French mustard, sea salt and cornichons are the traditional condiments.
Fill a very large stockpot half full with cold water. Add the meat and a tablespoon of salt and bring slowly to the boil. Add 100 ml of cold water and, with a slotted spoon, skim off the scum and fat on the surface and return to the boil. Repeat the process two or three times. The more you do it, the clearer and lighter the bouillon (stock) will be.
Add the bouquet garni and all the vegetables except for the potatoes, and leave to simmer very gently, uncovered, for 4 hours, skimming off scum and fat as often as you can. About 45 minutes before serving, boil the potatoes in a separate pan and set aside. If you want an immaculately limpid soup, remove the meat and vegetables from the stock, keep them warm and strain the stock through a muslin cloth.
If you are serving marrow bones, poach them for 3-5 minutes very, very gently in a saucepan of barely simmering, salted water until they are soft. You could also roast them in a hot oven for a five minutes or until they start to bubble.
Serve the bouillon in soup bowls, then, in large, deep dishes serve the meat, vegetables and marrow bones, with a little bouillon poured over, accompanied by mustard, cornichons and gros sel.
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