The main part of meat is pork shoulder (palette demi-sel) that has been cured. Since it is not easy for us to find pork shoulder, we use smoked pork picnic shoulder. Not necessarily the healthiest meat, but the taste and texture are close enough to pork shoulder. I also use a whole small smoked ham that I found at my local supermarket and cut into small pieces for the children. As for sausages, you would generally use pork cooking sausages (Italian style for instance). However, chicken sausages could do the trick if you are going to have leftovers and you don't want to eat pork every day for 3 days! As for root vegetables, I use turnips, carrots, and parsnips (because I like them a lot and don't eat them much while in France).
This dish is not labor intensive once you have pealed the vegetables. It's one of these French recipes that will cook for one or two hours on the stove without needing any extra help...that's why I think it's really easy.
My husband loved it! My children loved the ham pieces and the sausages. They ate all the vegetables except for the cabbage (but they tried it). We had a lot of leftovers because the picnic pork we bought was big. I shared some with a friend of mine, whom I know likes this type of dish a lot... and we ate some for lunch the next day! Bon Appétit!
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 smoked picnic pork shoulder
- 1 small smoked whole ham, cut into pieces (optional, see comments)
- 1 cooking sausage per person
- 3 slices of bacon
- 1 onion minced
- 3 carrots, cut into pieces
- 1 medium potato per person
- 2 small turnips
- 3 parsnips, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cabbage, cut into pieces
- Bouquet garni (or fresh thyme/bay leaves, see comment)
- 3 cloves
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 cup (250ml) of white wine
- In a large stock pot (with lid), cook the bacon slices over medium heat
- Brown the sausages together with the bacon. Once brown, take everything out of the pot.
- Put the onion in the pot and saute in the fat left from the bacon and sausages
- Pour 1 cup (250ml) of white wine and "deglace" (scrap the bottom of the pot so that all the meat pieces get off)
- Add the picnic, the ham, the bacon and the sausages
- Add the root vegetables, the cabbage and the herbs (bouquet garni or thyme/bay leaves/cloves)
- Pour 3 cups (750 ml) of water (you want the meat to be covered in water)
- Simmer for 1 hour under low heat (you don't want the water to boil) with lid on
- After one hour, add the potatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes (until the potatoes are cooked)
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the cloves and bay leaves/thyme and serve warm
My personal comments:
- Since the meat is smoked and salted, I only add salt at the end if necessary.
- Since all the meat is already cooked (except for the sausages), you don't have to cook the Potée for 2 or 3 hours like other recipes suggest.
- I use a whole smoked ham because my children were going to have dinner before my husband and I that evening. Since the ham was already cooked, I only had to wait for the vegetables (and the sausages) to be fully cooked to serve my children. That way, the picnic got to cook longer until my husband and I were ready for dinner.
- Some people add a "bouillon" (beef or chicken stock) but I find that it adds too much salt; the meat releases such powerful flavors that I don't find it necessary to add stock.
- This dish can be reheated; keep the cooking water to reheat the next day.
- You can adapt the quantity of vegetables according to your family.
- I purchase my bouquet garni from a spice shop near my house. Because there is no set recipe for bouquet garni, using thyme, bay leaves and cloves works well.
- Some people would use the cooking water as a soup; I find it too greasy so I never serve it that way.