For her pot-au-feu, Josette Riondato uses a single piece of braising beef, then slices it for serving. We can't get the same cut here, but short ribs work beautifully.

Photo: © Petrina Tinslay


  • 6 quarts water

  • 6 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 onion stuck with 4 cloves

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 10 whole peppercorns

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 small green cabbage (2 pounds), quartered lengthwise and cored

  • 8 leeks, white and light green only

  • 2 celery ribs, halved crosswise

  • 8 carrots, halved crosswise

  • 2 large turnips, peeled and quartered

  • 8 large boiling potatoes, peeled

  • Dijon mustard, cornichons and freshly ground pepper, for serving


  1. Boil the water in a large pot. Add the beef and return to a boil; skim. Add the onion, tomato paste, thyme and peppercorns. Season with salt and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, skimming.

  2. Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water for 5 minutes; drain. Tie the leeks and celery into a bundle with string. Add the cabbage, leek and celery bundle, carrots and turnips to the beef and simmer over moderately low heat for 30 minutes.

  3. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Add the potatoes to the beef and cook until all the vegetables and the meat are tender, about 20 minutes longer.

  4. Skim the broth. Remove the leek bundle from the pot and discard the string. Spoon the meat and vegetables into soup plates, ladle a little of the broth over them and serve. Pass the mustard, cornichons, salt and pepper separately.

Suggested Pairing

A Médoc has the youthful flavors of Merlot plus the tannic structure and body to match the boiled beef.

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