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    Sophie Grigson's Petit Pot-au-Feu

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    Sophie Grigson's Petit Pot-au-Feu

    This is Sophie Grigson's abridged version of the classic pot-au-feu, a magnificent two-course dish usually made from several cuts of meat, such as shin, brisket, oxtail and tongue. This version is 'petit' in that it uses only one type of meat: silverside. This cut is made up of two muscles from the back of the thigh, and is covered by a shiny layer of membrane (hence its name). Enjoy the broth as a first course, with some pasta to soak up the juices, and eat the beef after, sliced and moistened with its own stock and the soft, tender vegetables.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes to 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 180 minutes to 210 minutes
    • Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours 50 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 50 minutes

    Serves: 8


    • Aioli
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
    • 2 tbps creamed horseradish
    • 2 tsps white wine vinegar
    • 1 whole medium egg
    • 250ml sunflower oil
    • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
    • 2.5kg boned, rolled silverside
    • 1 onion, peeled and studded with 4 cloves
    • 6 sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves and 5 big sprigs parsley tied together with string
    • 800g medium carrots
    • 1 kg leeks, trimmed and washed well
    • 500g small turnips, peeled
    • 4 stems celery, cut into 8cm lengths
    • 200g spaghetti, broken into short lengths


    1. Begin by cutting the silverside in half, to create two smaller joints. Put them in a large pan with the onion and herbs. Add enough water to cover by about 5cm. Bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat. Leave to simmer quietly for the next 2 hours. Keep skimming off the impurities on the surface. Now season with salt, three-quarter cover with a lid, and leave alone.
    2. While it simmers, prepare the horseradish aioli. Put the garlic, horseradish, vinegar, egg and salt into the jug of a liquidiser. Whiz together until smooth, then, with blades still running, pour in the sunflower oil and the olive oil in a steady stream. Once the aioli is thick, stir in more vinegar, salt or horseradish to taste.
    3. When the 2 hours are nearly up, tie the leeks in two bundles with a couple of lengths of string. Tuck them into the pan, adding more water if necessary, then leave to simmer for another 1-1½ hours until very tender.
    4. Lift meat and vegetables out on to warm plates. Spoon over a little broth, cover and keep warm. Skim as much fat as you can from the broth and add the spaghetti. Simmer until al dente, then serve bowlfuls of broth and pasta as a first course.
    5. Carve the meat and serve with the vegetables (snipping the string off the leeks) and aioli.

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