22/11/2011

Daube

Classic French tonight, guys. Provençal, to be specific.

From the word daubière, a braising pan, Daube is a simple dish of beef, carrot and onion.

Strictly, the meat should be bull - from the back. Early recipes call for a trio of meats: shin, shortribs and chuck, for body, flavour and firmness respectively. Some recipes call for all manner of ingredients to highlight, flavour and generally fluff up what is actually a straight down the line rustic meat stew.

Let's not make it too complicated ...

Daube is traditionally served with rice or noodles, although I noticed in some pictures while flying around google looking for some kind of authentic recipe and method, frites.

If you do want to go down the line of fried potato chips, do check out my article: Chips! ... for frites, you'll want some duck fat.

Let's keep it more traditional paleo ...

First, the Daube. Daube is best made in several stages.

Start by cooking the meat, just covered in water, slowly for the day. I used braising steak. Next time, I'll most definitely source the correct meats - bull, not cow.

Boeuf in French is bull - French "beef" is male, else it is vache; cow.

Anyway, get some beef ... whatever gender, and cook it for ages on a low heat. Reduce the water as you cook, so keep the lid off. This stage is about concentrating the flavours and getting the meat to a really tender stage.

The next day (the cooking day), skin and half a few shallots, mince some garlic and pour over the cooked beef into a braising pot. You can look these up, but for the modern cook, any heavy ovenproof vessel will do.

Slice some carrots and toss over.

Chop thyme and rosemary, grind some black pepper and muddle in a little tomato puree. Add to the dish.

Pour over some good French red wine. I used Prestige & Calvert Bordeaux because it was on special offer at the Supermarket - only ever cook with wine you want to drink, and I really wanted to drink this! I poured in a glass of wine, largely because I wanted to drink the rest, but that is a good quantity over a couple of pounds of meat and a large carrot.

Top up with beef stock. Okay, you could use powdered stock and make it up with water, but really ... grab one of those blocks of bone stock from the freezer and do the job properly. I'll write up my method for stock one day.

Put the dish into the oven, pre-heated to 200C for an hour, drop to 150C and cook on for another hour, or so.

This will combine all the flavours, reduce the stock and take on some colour during the first stage and not burn during the second.

Before serving, prepare any vegetables.

I wilted some young kale and made chips (fries, frites, whatever your language) with rutabaga.

Serve, garnish with chervil or parsley and enjoy!


One final note - Daube can be made with lamb. I'd suggest shoulder for the gorgeous fattiness and sumptuous flavour. White wine should be used for this variation.

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