Provençal Beef Daube
I'm miserable, but trying to make the best of it.
The only thing I like about the cold weather months are these gorgeous stews made in my favorite Le Creuset ("Leh Crew-Zhay") Dutch oven.
A daube de boeuf is similar to a beef stew or Beef Bourguignon, however it is from the South of France.
There are olives, tomatoes and oranges added to the mix, to make it bright, like Provence.
This was so good, it rivals with my Belgian Beef Carbonnade (and that's hard to beat).
If you don't want to make the cheesecloth bundle (bouquet garni), you can throw in the herbs solo, however, you will have to fish them out at the end, which is a bit tedious.
This is a top 10 winter stew and gets better each day after it is made.
Serves about 6.
Provençal Beef Daube
For the bouquet garni:
6 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
3 bay leaves
6 juniper berries, cracked
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
a few thyme sprigs
3 wide strips orange zest
For the stew:
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch chunks
kosher salt & pepper
4 bacon strips, cut into pieces
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup Cognac or good quality beef stock
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 750-ml bottle young red wine, such as Burgundy
1 cup black and green olives (French olives, such as picholine are nice, you can use kalamata, but it will be saltier)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, for garnish
egg noodles or polenta for serving
Preheat oven to 350F.
Tie the bouquet garni in cheesecloth and tie with string.
In a large, heavy stock pot, cook the bacon pieces until crisp.
Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, saving about 2 tbsp of the bacon fat.
Season the meat cubes with plenty of kosher salt & pepper.
Sear them on each side in 2 batches (don't crowd the beef, or it won't brown). About 5 minutes per side.
Remove the meat to the bowl with the bacon pieces.
There should be plenty of oil left in the pot, but if not, go ahead and add some.
Throw in the carrots and onions and cook them with the tomato paste for a few minutes until softening. Add in the garlic at the last minute so it doesn't burn.
Deglaze the pan with the beef stock or cognac. This will take about a minute at most.
Add in the tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil. Place the bouquet garni in the pot (or the loose herbs, sometimes I am lazy).
Add the beef and bacon back into the pot.
Place the lid on the pot tightly and transfer to a preheated 350F oven.
Cook 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The last 15 minutes of cooking, add in your olives and place back in the oven.
Check the beef for tenderness, it should break with a fork easily and the sauce should be gorgeous and glossy and reduced.
Remove the herbs or bouquet garni and discard.
Garnish with orange strips and fresh thyme sprigs.
Serve on buttery egg noodles or polenta.