Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An (almost) Provencale Daube

Daube is the French version of a good old beef stew, but the broth is thinner and the flavours are milder.

There are lots of variations on flavourings either red or white wine, prunes, orange peel or duck or pork fat.

This is my simple version - one pot classic French cooking at its easiest and best.


about a kilo of a cheap cut of beef, either shin or skirt or some leaner stewing beef, cut into large cubes
couple of slices of good thick bacon cut into lardons
a big glass of red wine
500ml of beef stock
2 onions
2 cloves
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
couple of sprigs of thyme
2 carrots cut into thick chunks
3 sticks of celery cut into thick lengths
500g of fresh tomatoes roughly chopped or a large tin of chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper to season

Use a large oven ready dish throughout.

Fry the bacon in some olive oil for a couple of minutes then add the beef and brown lightly.

Deglaze the dish with the wine and allow it to boil for a couple of minutes, add the stock, then add all the other ingredients.  (told you it was easy!)

Slow cook for at least 4 hours at 120C for the beef to be lovely and tender and falling apart.

Serve with some plain boiled potatoes or thick slices of freshly baked bread.

We do not generally eat a lot of beef as it is quite expensive, but I do admire the fact that it is sourced locally, even the larger supermarkets will have a photo and all the farm details of the cows they are selling.  I tend to just buy the rare pack that I occasionally find on offer and it is usually stewing steak.

It can be disconcerting to see Ermintrude peering at you from the back of the butcher's counter, especially when you realise that you have probably driven past her at least half a dozen times in the last 6 months while she was chewing the cud in the fields.  Doesn't stop her from tasting yummy though.

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