A potée is a peasant dish from France, but there are similar dishes from all over Europe. It is a sort of poor relation of a Pot-au-feu, with a piece of bacon replacing the beef.

In France there are many local variations of this dish, from Lorraine, the Auvergne, the South-West (where it is called Garbure) and elsewhere, but essentially it is salted pork (hocks, petit-salé, gammon etc), carrots, leeks, onions, potatoes and cabbage, with other root vegetables such as turnips and maybe soaked dried or fresh haricot beans as well. A smoked sausage is often added too. In France, this would probably be a Montbéliard sausage or a Saucisse de Morteau, althogh there are local versions of smoked pork sausages all over France.

The bacon joint is placed in a large pot with water and brought to the boil. A lot of whitish scum will be produced and this needs to be removed with a slotted spoon. It is OK if a small amount of soft white foam remains, but you need to get rid of the harder stuff.

Then you can add seasoning. You won’t need salt because the pork will be salty already, but you should add a bouquet garni and some black peppercorns, plus the tough green parts of the leeks tied up with string for easy removal. You can also add juniper berries, but be careful because the flavour can be overwhelming.

Simmer this for about an hour or so, until the meat is nearly cooked and then add in your prepared vegetables, except the cabbage, and the sausages (I used German Bockwurst this time). Remove the bouquet garni and the green leeks and cook this further, until the vegetables are done and then add in a cabbage, cut into wedges. I think that a Savoy cabbage is best here. This will take about 10-15 minutes to cook.

You need to remove the meat and strain the vegetables from the liquid, which you should keep for making soup.

Remove the rind and fat from the bacon and slice it.

This is best served on a large plate so that people can help themselves and make sure that there is Dijon mustard to accompany the meat.

Any hearty wine will go well with this, but so will beer.


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