Daube de Boeuf Provençale
(French Provencal beef braised in red wine)
Image © iStockphoto
Popular in southern France, daubes (pronounced "dōb") are slow-simmered stews traditionally cooked in a special pot called a daubière. Beef or lamb are marinated in wine and herbs for a day or two, then simmered in a slow oven until meltingly tender.
As with much French food, everyone agrees that a daube should be made just so, yet each region has its own variation. The version here is popular in Provence.
4 to 6 servings
- Stewing beef, cubed -- 2 pounds
- Red wine -- 1 (750-ml) bottle
- Onions, chopped -- 2
- Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 1 or 2
- Garlic, crushed -- 2 or 3 cloves
- Orange peel with no pith -- from 1 orange
- Parsley -- 2 sprigs
- Thyme -- 2 sprigs
- Rosemary -- 1 sprig
- Bay leaves -- 1 or 2
- Flour -- 1/2 cup
- Olive oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Salt pork, cubed -- 1/4 pound
- Tomatoes, crushed or chopped -- 2 cups
- Black Nicoise olives, pitted -- 3/4 cup
- Salt and pepper
- Tie the orange peel, parsley, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves together with a string to make an herb bouquet. Place the beef, wine, onions, carrots, garlic and herb bouquet in a large, non-reactive bowl. Refrigerate at least overnight or for up to two days.
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove the beef from the marinade and set the marinade aside. Pat the beef dry and toss with the flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Set the beef aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the salt pork and saute until the pork renders its fat and starts to brown. Remove the browned salt pork pieces and stir into the marinade. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, removing to a plate as you brown each batch.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Strain the vegetables from the marinade. Layer half the vegetables in the bottom of the pot. Layer the beef over the vegetables. Put the herb bouquet on top of the beef and top with a final layer of the remaining vegetables. Pour the marinade liquid into the pot.
- Bring to a boil on top of the stove and season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with a lid and place in the oven. Cook slowly for anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, stirring once or twice.
- Skim any excess fat from the top. Stir in the tomatoes and olives and return to the oven to cook another 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with macaroni, fresh pasta or boiled potatoes.
Daube de Boeuf Variations
- For wine, it is best to use a red Côtes de Provence or Côtes du Rhône. Or just try using a good grenache. Some daubes call for white wine, in which case a grenache blanc would be ideal.
- Other versions of beef daube eliminate the tomatoes and olives and instead add prunes or dried or fresh mushrooms.
- Daubes are seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices. Some of the more common: cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries, lavendar. If you don't have fresh herbs, dried are fine, but tie them up in a piece of cheesecloth or put them in a teaball so they can easily be removed at the end.