Beef Daube Provencal Courtesy of Kim Hersom of Corks & Forks
Chef Kim Hersom loves to help home cooks become heroes of their own kitchens. Here, she shares her recipe for Beef Daube Provencal, which she calls "high-brow beef stew" in a "rich, lush sauce." She prepared it as part of a recent "Corks & Forks" food and wine pairing class, one of the tailor-made courses she and sommelier-husband Ralph Hersom conduct together. The wine in the braise (see recommended wines for cooking and sipping here), combined with a few hours in the oven, does the heavy lifting, rendering the meat meltingly tender, while lending fruit-and-earth flavors to the sauce.
The chef steers home cooks away from pre-cut stew meat in the grocery store. "It takes minimal time to break down a whole roast," she says, explaining that it's easy to see where the muscle naturally separates. Plus, the marbling in a whole roast is much better. Those delicious streaks of fat and connective tissue break down through low-and-slow cooking, resulting in meat that is, as the chef says, "melt-in-your-mouth and fork-tender."
One 750 ml bottle of wine equals just over 3 cups. For 3 ½ cups of braising liquid, you can open a second bottle of wine or increase amount of broth.
Make this dish the day before, allow it to cool, and place in the refrigerator overnight. This makes skimming excess fat from the surface of the stew easier.
This dish can be finished in a slow cooker instead of the oven. Follow steps 1 - 7, transfer to a slow cooker along with remaining ingredients in steps 8 – 9, and continue as directed in the slow cooker.
1. Set the oven at 325 degrees.
2. Remove the butcher twine if the meat is tied. With a sharp knife, cut along the natural lines of the meat to separate the pieces, trim off the excess fat and sinew, and cut meat into large chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge chunks of beef on all sides with flour.
3. In a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Set the meat in the pan and brown the pieces for 3 minutes without disturbing. Turn and brown the other sides. Work in batches to avoid crowding. Remove from the pan.
4. Deglaze the pot with 4 tablespoons of wine and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Reserve these pan drippings.
5. To the same heated pan, add the pancetta or bacon and render at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until crisp and the fat is rendered out. Remove from the pan.
6. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery to the fat left in the pot. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften slightly. Stir in tomato paste and cook for an additional minute.
7. Add wine and stir, scraping up remaining browned bits. Bring the wine and vegetables to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Add the stock, the optional demi-glace, the reserved pan drippings, and tomatoes. Return to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the bouquet garni, mushrooms, orange zest (or apricots) and olives.
9. Return the beef and the lardons back to the stew. Skim any excess fat from the surface of the stew. Adjust for salt. Cover the pot with lid.
10. Place in the oven for 3 hours until the meat is fork-tender.
11. Remove from the oven, uncover the pot, and simmer on the stove top for 30 minutes. Remove bouquet garni. Skim any excess fat from the surface of the stew. Adjust for salt.
12. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with roasted or mashed potatoes.