Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Petite Marmite

The name Petite Marmite, a hearty French soup perfect for a chilly winter evening, refers to the pot in which the soup is cooked rather than the ingredients. Consequently, recipes for Petite Marmite abound. After making this dish for years, I’ve come up with this delicious version. Time consuming, yes, but well worth the effort—and save any leftover broth for other recipes!

For the Broth:
1-2 lbs. beef soup bones with meat
2-lb. piece beef, such as bottom round, trimmed of fat and tied
3 chicken breast halves, bone-in
2 quarts beef broth
1 quart chicken broth
2-3 leeks, thickly sliced and washed well
1 large onion, unpeeled and quartered (skin will color the broth)
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1 tsp. salt

For the Bouquet Garni:
2 medium bay leaves
4 parsley sprigs
½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
¼ tsp. whole cloves
¼ tsp. fennel seeds
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried

To Finish:
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
1 white turnip, peeled, quartered, and sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp. salt
Fresh chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Brown bones for about 25 minutes. Turn and brown another 20 minutes.

2. Place bones and tied beef in a soup pot. Cover with broth and bring to a boil. Skim as necessary.

3. Add leeks, onion, celery, and salt to broth. Return to boil, then lower to simmer

4. Make a bouquet garni of bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, parsley, and thyme. Add to broth. Simmer for 2 hours. Add chicken breast halves and simmer another ½ hour.

5. Strain broth, discarding bouquet garni, bones, and vegetables. (At this point, soup may be cooled and refrigerated overnight in order to remove fat.) Remove chicken and reserve.

6. When ready to serve, defat broth. Return broth and beef to simmer. Add carrots, turnip, and potatoes and another tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer another 35 minutes.

7. Bone and skin chicken. Trim well and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to soup after vegetables have been cooking 35 minutes. Simmer about 10 minutes to heat chicken and finish cooking vegetables. Remove pot from heat. Remove beef and slice into serving pieces.

8. To serve, place meats and vegetables in bowls and cover with hot broth. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve with crispy French bread. 4 generous servings.

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