What to Eat in France: Pouteille, or Pig’s Trotter and Beef Stew from La Canourgue
Gargantua, épuisé après une longue marche et tenaillé par la faim, décide de s’arrêter avant d’entrer dans le village de La Canourgue. L’immense cuvette de grès située au pied du Sabot retient son attention; il s’assied sur ce curieux rocher, en attendant que les fadarelles (les fées) l’informent de la cuisson d’une étrange préparation composée de bœuf, de pieds de cochons, de pommes de terre et de vin.--Rabelais
After a long walk, dying of hunger, Gargantua decided to go into the village of La Canourgue. His attention was immediately drawn to a large earthenware dish sitting on a stand. Curious, he sat down on a rock, waiting for the fairies to tell him about how this strange preparation of beef, pig’s trotters, potatoes and wine, was prepared. It was pouteille.
Pouteille is not commonly found outside La Canourgue, a small commune located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France.
In the old days, every family put their pouteille stew together and took it to the village communal oven in an earthenware dish referred to as a toupi. It was eaten on special occasions and on Sundays.
Pig’s trotters are commonly used in the cuisine of this region, and are an integral ingredient of this slow-cooked dish.
1 lb. 12 oz. stew beef (shoulder, round/topside or chuck)
6 pig’s trotters
4 T. lard
2 carrots, sliced 1/2″ thick
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 T. flour
2/10 cup Cognac
1 bottle coarse red wine such as Cahors
2 2/10 lbs. small potatoes, peeled
1 branch thyme
1 laurel leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Large stewpan or Dutch oven
- Two hours before cooking time, soak the pig’s trotters in cold water. After one hour, change the water.
- Cut them in half lengthwise and spread them open. Cut into large chunks.
- Chop beef into cubes.
- Melt lard in Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Seize beef and pig’s trotters without browning them.
- Add carrots, onions, pig’s trotters and garlic.
- Mix well and add flour. Mix until it coats all ingredients evenly.
- Heat Cognac in a small saucepan.
- Pour warm Cognac into stew and flambé.
- Add wine, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. This should form a thin sauce.
- Tie thyme and laurel together with kitchen string and add to stew.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and simmer for one hour.
- Add potatoes and cover.
- Simmer for two hours.
- Adjust seasoning
- Serve hot.
Recipe inspired by Cuisine Collection.