Traditionally this dish was a way of using cheaper cuts of meat and worthy root vegetables and was kept topped up and bubbling away over an open fire indefinitely. This is a gentrified version using a recipe from the archetypal gentleman himself, Gordon (Cheat ‘n’ two veg) Ramsay.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:
40 minutes
Skill level: easy
Recipe: Gordon Ramsay – who he?


  • 2 parsnips – cored and sliced
  • 4 carrots – peeled
  • swede – 1 small – peeled
  • 2 medium turnips – peeled
  • 8 shallots – quartered
  • garlic – 3 whole cloves
  • star anise – 7
  • juniper berries – 4
  • olive oil
  • pepper corns – crushed – 1tsp
  • cloves – 3
  • thyme – sprig
  • pearl barley – 3tbsp
  • cabbage leaves – 8
  • sea salt
  • plus pesto to serve

Prepare the vegetables in various fancy ways. Core the parsnip and cut into hoops, cut the carrots into lozenge shapes, and cut the swede and turnip into fairly chunky bite-sized pieces. Keep everything fairly large to retain flavour.

Put all the vegetables into a wide-based pan and add the garlic and star anise.

Crush the peppercorns and juniper in a pestle and mortar and add to the vegetables.

Generously drizzle with olive oil and add the cloves, thyme and barley.

Pour over enough water to cover – be sparing with this.

Bring to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender but still have a bit of a bite. This should ensure the liquid stays nice and clear.

Add salt to taste.

pot au feu

Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water for three minutes and then run under cold water to cool them quickly so they retain their vivid colour.

Line each bowl with two cabbage leaves (trim if necessary) and spoon in the vegetables and barley (remove the garlic if squeamish).

Ladle over the broth, drizzle with more olive oil and add a good spoonful of pesto.


Verdict: Now this was good. The relatively short cooking time and inclusion of star anise and juniper berries gave this a clean and unusual flavour.

Drink: A few Meantime ales at the new improved L’Oasis and no doubt a bottle of red back home.

Entertainment: An edifying and harrowing viewing of ‘Downfall‘ on DVD. The scene where the chilling Magda (Mrs) Goebbels calmly and lovingly poisons her five children in their sleep because she feels life without the Third Reich would be unbearable, has to be one of the most memorable scenes in cinema history. A superb film. I urge you to knock up a quick Pot-au-feu and watch it!


  1. I think you should call this something else as you have omitted all the meat and bones.

    The taste will be quite different and you will insult French people by calling this pot-au-feu.

  2. pot o’ few?

  3. Bonjour French Chef

    Merci de votre message et pour nous avoir rendu conscients de cette erreur honteuse. Vous avez naturellement raison quand vous précisez la parodie d’appeler ce plat malheureux ‘Pot-au-feu’. Non seulement avons nous vous causé tant de détresse que vous vous etiez obligé d’écrire un commentaire, mais nous avons, comme vous le dites, offendu le monde français entier.

    Nous sommes sûrs que vous vous rendez compte que tous les blog de nourriture sont obligés par le droit international d’être 100% précis et doivent, avant publication, soumettre tout leur contenu a l’Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) et en plus au Larousse Gastronomique. Nous avons échoué sur les deux comptes alors voici nos démissions immédiates.


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