Daube Provencal

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.


  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.


3 Responses to Daube Provencal

  1. Didier says:

    It is pronounced similar to “dob” with a long o sound, although, well more French.

    This is prob one of the best French dishes there is, imho. I tasted my favorite version over my honeymoon in a small restaurant in Tourrettes sur Loup in Provence, served over a bed of homemade cheese ravioli. Fabulous memory :-9

    It’s a shame the ATK recipe is so expensive. Afterall, most of today’s delicacies were very much peasant dishes, and Daube is no different–so frugality should be “baked in” to the recipes!

    Keep up the good work; glad I came across your blog!

  2. jay says:

    I’m so glad I came across this, thanks for all of your work in documenting this. A quick suggestion on dried mushrooms. At least in California, Costco seasonally (typically winter/spring) sells large containers of dried mushrooms for fairly reasonable prices. In previous years they had a variety of different kinds but in the past year they apparently changed vendors and only have shiitake. Thanks again!

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