Just What the Doctor Ordered...

I've been feeling somewhat under the weather for the past few days and surprisingly have not even had that much of an appetite (a real rarity for me). Knowing I needed to eat something soothing yet still nutritious, I put a pot on the fire with with some chicken broth, brought it to a simmer and dropped in some vegetables, herbs, and garlic. It is, quite literally, just what a doctor may order (at least I think so). It was both soothing and delicious. The famous French boiled beef-and-vegetable recipe, pot au feu translates simply as "pot on a fire."  Below is a somewhat more involved recipe for the one I made today (one I've served in restaurants in the past with much success); it's a vegetarian version of the traditional meat-based recipe but with a North African flare. Add meat or chicken to it if you like, but it's really not necessary.

Roast Vegetable Pot Au Feu
Pot au Feu des legumes
Serves 6-8 people
1/3 cup olive oil
2 turnips, peeled and quartered
1 rutabaga, peeled and diced into large pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into large pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
6 shallots peeled
12 medium mushrooms
8 whole peeled cloves of garlic
4 small red skinned potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon course sea salt, divided
2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups cooked white beans

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, turnips, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, shallots, mushrooms, garlic cloves, potatoes, 1/2 tablespoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast them in a preheated 425 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes or until they begin to brown. Place the roast vegetables into a medium stock pot along with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, black peppercorns, bay leaves, broth, and water. Bring the pot to a boil; skim the surface then lower the heat to a very slow simmer. Cook the vegetables for about 20 minutes. Add the white beans and simmer the vegetables and additional 10 minutes. Ladle the vegetables into serving bowls. Serve with steamed rice or cous cous and harissa sauce.