Daube a` la Provençale

Prep: 1 day

Cook: 5 hours

Serves: 10

Michele Anna Jordan has written thirteen widely praised books about food and wine. Her fearless signature restaurant reviews currently appear in the North Bay edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to a weekly column for the Press Democrat,”Seasonal Pantry.” She hosts two radio shows, Mouthful, about food, wine, and agriculture, and Red Shoes Rodeo, an eclectic music show on KRCB-FM. Jordan writes for a variety of national publications and has won numerous awards for both cooking and writing.

A daube is a beef stew. A perfect cold-weather meal that gets better the longer it sits. It is best to begin making it a full two days in advance. This recipe calls for the daube to be cooked in a clay roaster. If you do not have one, you can use a heavy, ovenproof pot instead.

Ingredients

5 to 6 pounds beef stew meat

4 ounces bacon, in one piece, cut into thick julienne

4 to 5 large carrots, peeled and cut into thick diagonal slices (3 cups)

2 to 3 yellow onions, peeled and thickly sliced (3 cups)

1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, minced

2 large strips dried orange peel

1 bay leaf

12 garlic cloves, peeled

1 bottle dry red wine, such as a Rhone-style, syrah, or zinfandel

Kosher salt

Black pepper in a mill

Pinch of sugar

Bouquet garni of 3 fresh thyme sprigs

3 fresh Italian parsley sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 strips dried orange peel

2 pounds potatoes, washed and cut into chunks

1/4-cup Niçoise olives, pitted

Directions

  1. Place the beef, bacon, carrots, onions, thyme, orange peel, bay leaf, and garlic in a large bowl and pour the red wine over the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Prepare a clay pot roaster according to the manufacturers instructions. Pour off the marinade, straining it into a clean bowl. Place the meat in the clay pot and season it all over with salt, pepper and small pinch of sugar, add the bouquet garnish, and pour the marinade over it. Set the marinated vegetables aside.
  3. Set the clay pot in the oven, turn the temperature to 300° F, and bake for 3 hours.
  4. Add the reserved vegetables, bake for 45 minutes, add the potatoes and olives, and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes more. Let rest at least 20 minutes before serving.
  5. For the best flavors, let the daube cool to room temperature and refrigerate it over night. Bring the daube back to room temperature, set it in a cold oven, turn the heat to 300 degrees, and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes.
  6. Remove and discard the bouquet garnish and serve.

©Michele Anna Jordan, from The New Cook‚s Tour of Sonoma (Sasquatch Books, 2000).