Breton Pot-au-Feu with Buckwheat Dumpling
SERVES 8 – 10
This hearty Breton stew usually calls for poitrine salée, a meaty French salt pork. It's hard to find in the States, so we substituted corned beef.
2 lbs. corned beef
1 1⁄4 lb. smoked pork sausage (e.g., kielbasa)
1 fresh ham hock
1 smoked ham hock
4 small white onions, peeled, each studded with 1 clove
1 bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme, and
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, tied in a bundle)
5 black peppercorns
4 cups white buckwheat flour
1 tbsp. salt
4 1⁄2 cups milk
3 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
8 small potatoes, washed
1 lb. leeks, washed, trimmed, and chopped
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
3 medium turnips, peeled and quartered
1 large green cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place corned beef, sausage, ham hocks, onions, bouquet garni, and peppercorns in a very large stockpot (at least 16 qt.) with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. To make the dumpling (farz), combine buckwheat flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and whisk in milk and egg. Place a cotton dish towel in a bowl and pour in batter. Gather corners of towel to make a loose pouch (farz will swell as it cooks), and tie tightly with kitchen string. Add to stockpot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, skimming fat and foam.
3. Add carrots, potatoes, leeks, cauliflower, and turnips to meat. Simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 45 minutes. Add cabbage and cook 15 minutes.
4. Transfer farz to a colander; drain and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove meat and vegetables from pot and keep warm in a low oven. Discard bouquet garni, then strain broth and reduce it over high heat for 10 minutes.
5. Slice meat, place on a platter, and moisten with a little broth. Unwrap farz and break up with 2 forks so that the texture resembles couscous. Add farz and vegetables to platter, season all with salt and pepper, and serve warm with broth on the side.