This French stew, called a daube, is simply chunks of beef, carrots, onion, mushrooms, and olives in a rich red wine sauce. Serve it by itself, over pasta, or with a thick slice of hearty peasant bread. Perfect blizzard food.
Like many hearty stews, this daube is best served the day after you make it. In fact, some cooks gently heat and cool it over several days for maximum flavor. If you can’t wait, though, no problem. You’ll find it utterly irresistible right out of the pot. Originally published May 5, 1999.–David Leite
What Wine to Serve with a French Daube?
“Daube” sounds incomparably more sophisticated than “beef stew,” doesn’t it? Actually, come to think of it, just about everything sounds more esteemed in French, including wine, n’est-ce pas? The best wine to use in this beef stew—or rather, daube—is something from the same region as the ingredients, namely the South of France. A lovely Côtes du Rhône would do quite nicely—not to mention inexpensively.
In a skillet over low heat, warm the oil. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the herbs and garlic and continue cooking until the flavors and aromas are released, just a minute or two. Add the wine, salt, and peppercorns, bring the liquid to a boil, and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is reduced somewhat. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool completely.
Place the various cuts of beef in a bowl and pour the cooled wine mixture over the beef. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning the meat once or twice.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the meat and the marinade in a heavy casserole or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Scatter the sliced onions and then add the pancetta, tomatoes, bouquet garni, and orange zest. Wet the parchment circle and place it on top, pressing down to remove any air bubbles. Cover and cook for 1 hour. Lower the temperature to 250°F (120°C) and cook an additional 3 to 4 hours, until the meat falls apart easily when prodded with a fork.
Set the pot on top of the stove over very low heat. Remove the parchment and stir in the mushrooms and olives. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni and skim the fat from the top of the cooking liquid. Adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve over cooked noodles, if desired.