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Classic Provençale Daube

This recipe appeared in Food & Wine many years ago and is a winner. In the autumn whenever I ask family and friends what they’d like for a weekend dinner, all voices rise in unison: “That French stew!” Slightly offended because no one asked for any of my dishes, I make them grovel a bit. And then I make it.

You’ll be tempted to serve the daube after the second cooking, but don’t. It really does benefit from the extra 24 hours of mellowing.–Yvonne Soliva

Classic Provençale Daube Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 4 H, 30 M
  • Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut in 4-ounce cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 16 large cloves garlic (4 minced, 12 halved)
  • 3 large onions (2 minced, 1 stuck with 4 whole cloves)
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or 1 14-ounce can crushed Italian tomatoes)
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine, such as Côtes du Rhône
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • Bouquet garni, made with 5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, 3 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves and 2 leek greens tied in cheesecloth

Directions

  • 1. In a large flameproof casserole or Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderately high heat until hot. Add the beef in batches, without crowding, and cook until well browned on all sides. Regulate the heat to avoid scorching the meat. As each batch is browned, transfer the meat to a large plate and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • 2. In the remaining fat in the casserole, cook the minced garlic, minced onions, and carrots over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and cook for 3 minutes longer. Add the wine and vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat; boil for 3 minutes. Add the beef and any accumulated juices, the halved garlic cloves, the onion stuck with cloves, and the bouquet garni. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • 3. Let the meat and vegetables return to room temperature. Cover and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer very gently until the meat is fairly tender, about 2 hours. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • 4. Scrape off any fat that has solidified on the surface of the daube. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. The daube is ready to serve at this point, but for even better flavor, repeat the cooling, overnight chilling, and cooking one more time.
  • 5. Discard the bouquet garni. Remove the meat from the casserole and boil the liquid until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the meat to the casserole and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
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