Daube Provencal

November 14, 2010

While I’m not sure exactly how to pronounce it, Daube is a rich beef stew from the Provence/Mediterranean region of France. It has olives and hints of orange. But it is also classically French; made with an entire bottle of wine, vegetables and herbs from Provence. Traditionally it takes 3-days to prepare, though Chris Kimball does it in a single afternoon. So it was with a November chill in the air that I felt a renewed yearning for stew-making. Filling the house with wonderful aromas all afternoon. The heat of the oven making my house all the more pleasant. Checking back, I haven’t made one since January.

Classic French recipe ready in one afteroon, rather than 3 days.

The recipe is here. An hour of active preparation is required in early afternoon. First, soak the dried pocini mushroons, then strain and cut into 1/2-inch cubes reserving the liquid too. Brown the beef in dutch oven in 2 to 3 batches, then set aside. Saute the carrots, onions, garlic, salt pork and tomato paste for 2 minutes. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Add a bottle of red wine, broth, meat and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer. Add mushrooms, orange zest, olives, anchovies, thyme, and bay leaves. Put partially covered Dutch oven in preheated 325-degree oven for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Discard salt pork, bay leaves and thyme. Serve over buttered egg noodles or boiled potatoes.

I had never heard of Daube before, and at $36 this is my most expensive dinner yet. (previous most expensive was $29).  The closest stew I can compare it to is the famous Boeuf Bourguignon I made last January, which I gave a wholehearted 5-stars. I like this recipe equally; the olives and orange brighten the stew slightly, but I don’t believe that it is worth $11 more than the Bouef. I will give this 4-1/2 stars because of cost and finickiness of ingredients.

Comments:

  1. My biggest problem was trying to find Dried Porcini Mushrooms; all my local supermarkets were sold out. After doing some online research  for an acceptable substitute, it became clear that there could be no substitution; not even fresh Porcini. Thus began my 25-mile quest. Not even Trader Joe’s has them. Finally, some success. Though I ended up with Serbian mushrooms; not the Italian ones that are so universally praised. They cost $7 for 1-ounce.
  2. Niçoise olives are also grown in Provence, and can also be hard to find. Fortunately, the same store that had the mushrooms also had the required niçoise olives. I needed about half-pound. They are mild olives; slightly sour. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that they were not pre-pitted. Because the olives were so small they were quite tricky to pit; my pitter was useless.
  3. Also, it is worth mentioning that the browning of the beef made a huge mess. The beef splattered everywhere. I had to completely clean the stovetop, and even had to wipe down the kitchen floor.
  4. If possible, buy a 16-oz package of eggs noodles. That’s just enough for the 8-servings. If you can only find a 12-oz package, you will have to skimp.
  5. The main difference in cost between this recipe and the  Boeuf Bourguignon was: $7 for the dried Porcini mushrooms, $3 for salt pork and $3.50 for the olives. If I divide the $36 into the 8-servings; it’s only $4.50 per serving. Stated that way, it’s a great deal!

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $36
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  High.
Started: 2:00.  Ready:  6:30.


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