Breton Pot-au-Feu with Buckwheat Dumpling
This popular hearty stew is found in many homes and restaurants in Brittany.
Yield: serves 8-10
- 2 lb. 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
- 1 egg
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add carrots, potatoes, leeks, cauliflower, and turnips to meat. Simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 45 minutes. Add cabbage and cook 15 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.