Recipe of the Month – Provençal beef daube

Ready for the cooler September evenings, this dish will warm the cockles of your heart! It’s a little more technical than our usual recipes … you’ll be fine!  It’s perfect for making ahead and freezing, and we’ve included notes on this in the method.

  • Serves 6-8
  • Hands-on time 1 hour 5 min, oven time 2-3 hours

Ingredients

1 large celery stick

2 bay leaves

3 large fresh parsley sprigs

4 large fresh thyme sprigs

1kg British braising steak, such as chuck or blade

4 tbsp olive oil

225g unsmoked free-range bacon lardons, in short chunky strips

3 onions, halved and thinly sliced

6 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced

600ml red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon

200ml good quality fresh beef stock

350g carrots, cut into small chunky pieces

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 anchovy fillets, chopped

4 strips pared orange zest

100g black olives

For the beurre manié

20g soft butter

20g plain flour

For the persillade

25g fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

1 fat garlic clove

 

Method

Make a bouquet garni by cutting the celery stick in half, sandwiching the herbs between the 2 pieces and tying everything into a tight bundle with kitchen string. Set aside.

Cut the braising steak into large chunky pieces – thick slices cut across the grain about 3cm thick and each weighing about 75-100g. Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole and brown the meat in batches until well coloured all over. Lift each batch onto a plate, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the bacon strips to the pan and fry until golden brown, then remove and set aside with the beef. Add the remaining oil and the onions to the casserole and fry for 10-12 minutes until richly browned and slightly caramelised. Add the sliced garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes more.

Add the wine to the casserole and leave to simmer vigorously, scraping the base of the casserole with a wooden spoon to release all the caramelised juices, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Heat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Stir in the beef stock and return the meat and bacon to the casserole with the carrots,  chopped tomatoes, anchovies, pared orange zest, bouquet garni, 1 tsp salt and some pepper. Cover with a sheet of foil and a close-fitting lid, then cook in the oven for 2-3 hours until the meat is fall-apart tender.

Shortly before the daube is ready, knead or stir the butter and flour for the beurre manié to a thick paste.

Remove the daube from the oven, uncover and skim off any excess oil from the top, then remove and discard the bouquet garni. Bring it to a gentle simmer on top of the stove and stir in the beurre manié and olives. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to go cold. Spoon into a lidded freezer proof container and freeze until required.

When ready to serve, remove the daube from the freezer and leave to thaw overnight in the fridge. Spoon it back into a flameproof casserole, bring it gently back to a simmer and leave it to heat through for 10-15 minutes. Take care when stirring to make sure you don’t break up the meat. Meanwhile, put the parsley and garlic on a board and finely chop them together. Sprinkle the persillade over the daube and take it to the table immediately. Serve with olive oil mash and vegetables of your choice.