Bouilli or pot au feu québécois is a traditional beef stew from Québec, Canada. Inspired by the famous dish ‘pot au feu’ from France—a simple stew made of root vegetables, beef, and pork belly simmered until tender.

As a kid, I visited my grandparents once or twice a year. They lived in a small and remote village far away in the forest called Lac-des-Aigles (Eagles Lake). We would always arrive in the late afternoon, and the cast iron pot would already be doing its magic on the stove for hours. A succulent and traditional meat stew called Bouilli was the typical welcome smell of my grandma’s place. Such a treat!

A Winter Stew

Bouilli - pot au feu quebecois

This recipe is a flashback to those pleasant visits to my grandparent’s place. My grandma would make this recipe from September, when the root veggies were fully grown, until the end of winter. As one knows, Quebec, my homeland, has inherited a lot from its cousins from France, including the language, justice system, and gastronomy. However, everything took a slightly different direction, and it’s also true with Pot au Feu.

French Pot au Feu vs. Canadian Bouilli

A popular peasant dish in both France and Quebec, this dish is considered by many to be an incontestable comfort food. However, the French version often contains leeks, while the French Canadian version uses onions and adds green or yellow beans. Another difference is the type of meat; in Canada, we usually add a piece of salted pork belly (Lard salé), which is common in any Canadian stews. However, they solely use beef pieces and extra bone marrow in France.

Bouilli - pot au feu quebecois
My grandma Bouilli

The Technique

The recipe is simple; you only need a good old Dutch oven, patience, and an eye on the pot’s liquid. It’s a slow and long cooking stew with many veggies like rutabagas (or turnips), carrots, potatoes, beans, onions, and cabbage. But also plenty of beef cuts like chuck roast, Bottom Sirloin Flap, oxtail, brisket, and a piece of salted pork belly.

To prevent the stew from boiling, we cover the pot with the lid and always leave a tiny crack to let the extra heat escape. This way, you’ll get a perfect simmer, tender the meat, and steam the veggies to perfection without blurring the broth.

Pot au Feu (bouilli)

Bouilli is a “kind of” stew without as much liquid. It contains about half the liquid of a regular stew. The goal is always to check for the meat to be covered by water, although the many veggies will stay on top of the liquid; there is no mixing. The secret here is to simmer gently and for a long time without moving the stew around. This way, you’ll collect all the residual water from the “steamed” veggies and steam them up without getting saggy.

The result is a tender and dreamy merge of all the ingredients with just a touch of the tasty broth to cover the bottom of the plates. Back in the day, Pot au feu used to be served in 2 different dishes: first, the broth or soup, and afterward, the meat and veggies as the main.

To Serve with…

Marie et gigi in the kitchen
A family tradition, my mom and I

The only personal touch of mine in this version of Pot au feu is the garlic clove since I’ve been living abroad in Spain… I have this habit of adding garlic everywhere.

To Serve with

In my family, we like to serve this dish with a nice fresh, buttered white loaf slice of bread to accompany it and soak all that yummy broth. Other sides are pickled beets or pickles to get a little acidic kick. To make it more pleasant for the eyes, little bundles with the beans make them easier to pick up in the end, too.

Other Nice Stews

So, let’s start and make good use of that iron cast!

Bouilli or pot au feu québécois

5 from 31 votes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 553
Beef Bouilli or pot au feu québécois is a traditional beef stew in Québec, Canada inspired by the famous dish ‘pot au feu’ from France. A simple stew made of roots vegetables, beef and pork belly slowly cooked until perfection.


  • 1 big dutch oven


  • 1 k chuck roast, bottom sirloin flap, oxtail or brisket
  • 300 g salted pork (pancetta)
  • 10 carrots
  • 400 g green beans (pack of 10 in string)
  • 2 rutabaga or turnip
  • 3 onions
  • 1/2 white cabbage
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove (*optional)
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 3 cloves
  • salt and pepper


  • Start by searing the beef and pork with a bit of clarified butter or olive oil in a big Iron Cast pot, high heat until brown on each side.
  • Add the bouquet garni and cover the piece of meat (2cm over) with water.
  • Let simmer for two and a half hours, covered (leaving a small opening to let the heat escape and prevent the stew from boiling), making sure there is always water in the pot.
  • Cut all the veggies into thick pieces, except the carrots, potatoes, and onions (with cloves stuck in them).
  • Add all the veggies, except the green beans, on top of the meat, and make sure there is always enough water to cover the pieces of meat, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Make little bundles with the green beans and attach them with the help of a string; add them on top of the stew, cover, and simmer for 30 more minutes.
  • Check and adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper).


After 3.5 to 4 hours of slow cooking, the stew is finally ready, and the meat gets ultra tender and breaks easily. Take out the cloves from the onions and serve with some broth.
Sides to serve with this dish would be fresh white bread with butter and lovely pickled beets or pickles.
Author: Marie Breton
Calories: 553kcal
Course: Plato principal
Cuisine: Francesa
Keyword: beef, bouilli, pot au feu, quebecois, stew


Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 433mg | Potassium: 1760mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 13298IU | Vitamin C: 66mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 6mg
Nutrition Facts
Bouilli or pot au feu québécois
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. collegeceliackc Reply

    This looks like the perfect comfort food, especially during cold days!

  2. I have a recipe for the French version of pot au feu, but loved reading about the differences between that and the French Canadian version. This looks like a perfect, comforting pot of goodness.

  3. Louis Giguere Reply

    When my mom cooked that dish, my uncle drove from Montreal to Quebec City to be in on it. Always in August when the required vegetables are at their freshest

  4. Greg Cossette Reply

    Had some bouilli when I visited my cousin Solange in Notre-Dame-de-Montauban, Quebec! She treated me to the Cossette family version. Fantastic!

    • It s a quite welcoming meal, especially on a cold winter night. I m intrigued… What differ in the Cossette family bouilli?

  5. In peru there is a similar dish called “Sancochado” …so good 🙂

    • Really!? Lovely! Got to go back there to try it out! They probably add a bit of succulent choclo with it!? 🥰

  6. My mother would make this and serve ploi on the side. Mmmm there is nothing better. Brings back good memories.

      • Yes I guess you could call them pancakes. They were definitely buckwheat. They were thinner than I pancake though and were only cooked on one side. I would say they were a cross between a tortilla and a crepe.

        • Heard a lot about these… by my mom. Growing up she used to have them all the time… but sadly the flour to make them isn’t so easy to find.

  7. Kouign-amann Reply

    Merci pour ta recette. Je suis aux États-Unis et je cherche à faire un bouilli pour me ramenez chez nous en esprit.

5 from 31 votes (31 ratings without comment)

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