Memorial Day weekend was crammed with cooking, eating, and struggling with the weather’s unpredictability. For the last couple of weeks, it has rained almost every day and mostly in the afternoon, driven by the rising temperatures and the lingering humidity in the atmosphere. Luckily, we squeezed two rounds of grilling towards the end of the weekend. Knowing that we would overindulge in a slab of large, meaty ribs on Monday evening, I decided that the perfect lunch to feel nutritionally virtuous for a little while was Dorie Greenspan’s warm weather vegetable pot-au-feu.
The upside of the rain? My balcony garden is haphazardly lush. Hello, basil coulis!
According to The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine (a grossly underused reference in my shelf), “the most accomplished pot au feu is composed of a number of textures and flavors”. Dorie’s version felt fresh with lemon zest pieces and lemongrass combined with the more traditional aromatics. Between those, and the relatively short cooking time, I get why the title suggests this as a summertime meal. The thinly sliced potatoes and ruffly poached eggs added substance to the otherwise light soup. Some of the liberties we took with this flexible recipe included using dry mushrooms and adding them earlier into the process, working with white asparagus, and using a vegetable stock base to make this dish vegetarian friendly (if omitting the egg). The soup, served with a couple of pieces of French bread for dipping, made a satisfying lunch.
And then… the bonne idée that almost wasn’t.
There was enough soup left over on Monday for a ‘side’ portion of warm weather pot au feu. The work day had been long, the house felt overly warm, and I didn’t feel like boiling water. I removed an open container of goat cheese crumbles (one of the three I bought for the Torteau de Chevre I never got around baking), and sprinkled a bit on top of my soup. Some of cheese melted into the broth, cutting through the concentrated vegetable flavors, and adding that desired touch of richness in the otherwise light soup. And that tang… mmmh! I had another Dorie fan-girl moment and joyfully tweeted about my discovery.
I broke out into a spazzy little dance when I got the reply, fortunately witnessed only by Gatamiaux.
The warm weather pot au feu was this week’s chosen entry for French Friday’s with Dorie, an online cooking group that works its way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. For the rest of the gang’s vegetable pot au feu links, click here. Bon weekend!