Now you can see why I titled this post the way I did. Though this may look gross to a lot of you, hang in here, it gets much better. Yes...those are pigs feet. I am going to show you how to make a classic French daube (pronounced dobe). This is a rich French stew named because it is made in a pot bellied earthenware daubiere. I use my big oval Le Crueset pot. I use different cuts of beef, three in total, to get different flavors and texture to the sauce. The daube glistens when prepared properly. This is so delicious and has such a hauntingly rich flavor that I always serve it with a crusyt french bread to scoop up all of the sauce.
This is a long recipe but very well worth the effort. you begin by cutting all of the beef into about 3/4 inch cubes. I use 6 lbs. of beef.
After all the meat is cubed and the onions sliced, I place them all in the big pot. I add a bunch of fresh thyme and several bay leaves and grind a generous amount of fresh nutmeg.
Then I pour in both bottles of red wine. This gets covered with the lid and refrigerated for 2 days.
After the 2 days, I remove all of the meat and separate it from the onions. Remove the herbs and set them aside. Save the marinate.
Cover the meat with paper towels and dry thoroughly. The meat must be dry or it will stew and not brown correctly.
Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil. I also throw in a few tablespoons of bacon grease for added flavor.
This is the step that makes you want to run screaming into the night. I turn on a movie and just tune out to what I am doing. You must brown each cube on each side until a nice crust forms being careful not to scorch the meat. Do not add too much beef at one time or it will lower the temperature of the pot and the meat will stew. The meat must be crisp to lock in the flavor.
This is one of my best tips in cooking. Whenever I prepare a beef dish, I always do this. Mince two or three anchovies in a dish with a teaspoon of coarse salt. Add this to the dish while cooking. The enzymes in the anchovies interact with the beef to bring out a very rich beef flavor. There is absolutely no anchovy flavor in the finished dish.
Then slice it in very thin strips and add it to the daube. This will disintegrate in the stew as it cooks.
Add about 12 carrots, peeled and cut into slices and about a pint of pitted Kalamata or Nyons olives.
After 2 hours remove the pot from the oven. Scoop all the marrow out of the bones, mash it with a fork and return it to the daube. This will add a tremendous amount of flavor and will give the daube it's glossy sheen.
After another hour and a half it will look like this. Remove from the oven and let cool. Then refrigerate the daube overnight. This allows the flavor to develop and will allow you to remove the fat.
There will be quite a bit of fat to discard. The daube is far too greasy if you skip this step. Return the daube to a 300 degree oven to warm.
I always bake my potatoes for mashing. Boiling potatoes leeches out flavor. When the potatoes are done, cut them in half.
Warm about 4 cups of milk (this is for 12 baked potatoes), a stick of butter and a half of a block of an 8 oz. cream cheese.
Add a nice piece of crusty French bread. The daube melts in your mouth and has an unbelievable depth of flavor. I have served this at dinner parties and people eat 2 and three bowls of it. it is hard to stop eating. The recipe takes 3 or 4 days to prepare.
People ask me all the time who eats all of the food I prepare. Not me! On a daily basis, my kitchen looks like this. Piles of containers are stacked all over my counters. My son (the blog tech) went home with all of these this morning. He and his girlfriend are big beef eaters and it will be her first experience eating daube. I suspect it will become a favorite of hers. My daughter will be stopping by in a bit to pick up her share. She and her boyfriend will have daube for dinner. I also made her favorite pasta salad in between daube making. My husband's mother, who has not spoken to me in 30 years (not good enough for her son), is 88 years old. She has been abandoned by everyone but my husband. Real healthy family dynamics going on there! So for the last couple of years, I prepare her food and send it to her with him. The old wench has the appetite of a linebacker!