Monday, March 7, 2011

French Daube Recipe

This might not look like much but I guarantee you that this is simply one of the best things you might ever taste. It does take time to prepare but it is worth every bit of effort. I have served this at formal dinner parties and have had people eat three bowls of it. It is so good in fact, that you don't need to serve anything along with it except for the French bread I showed you yesterday. You need the bread to sop up every last drop of this delectable dish.

Use a cheap cut of meat with marbling. This is a 6 pound bottom round roast.

Slice the roast into steak-size pieces and place it in a heavy dutch oven. Cut an onion in half and stud it with 8 whole cloves.

Peel and slice 5 large onions.

Place them in the pot with the meat and the clove studded onion.

Add 4-5 bay leaves.

Add 1 large bottle or 2 regular sized bottles of a hearty red wine. The meat and onions should be almost entirely covered with the wine. You can add some beef stock if you need more liquid. Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and separate the meat and the onions.

Place the onions in a large bowl and set them aside for now.

Save the marinate in another bowl.

Place the meat on paper towels and pat the pieces with extra towels to get the meat as dry as possible.

Place about 4 tablespoons of olive oil back in the heavy pot.

Cut all of the meat into about 3/4 inch cubes.

Be patient, this takes time. Do not crowd the pot but you must brown each cube of meat on each side until a crisp brown crust has formed. The heat should be medium/high.

Remove each batch when browned and season with salt and pepper.

You might have to add a bit more oil.

When all of the meat is browned you should have a big bowl of it that looks like this.

This pot might look nasty to you but to me it looks like lots of flavor.

Throw the sliced onions into the remaining hot oil. As you stir them around they will deglaze the pan.

Add about 5 tablespoons of tomato paste.

Throw in a whole handful of fresh thyme. Don't worry about taking the thyme off of it's stalks. The thyme leaves will fall off during cooking and you can just pick the little branches out later.

Grate several teaspoons of nutmeg over the meat.

Pour the reserved marinate back into the pot and submerge the meat along with any of it's juices into the liquid.

Mash an anchovy with some sea salt until you have a paste and add it to the pot.

Stir in 4-5 tablespoons of boeuf demi-glace.

Add 4 large marrow bones. Press them down into the liquid. Cover the pot and place it in a 275 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

While the daube is cooking, get out your mandoline.

Slice 2 pounds of carrots into uniform sized coins.

Now you will need 3 or 4 thick slices of bacon, about 2 cups of pitted kalamata or nice olives and 16 ounces of crushed tomatoes. Zest the rind off of one large orange.

I omitted a picture and a step. Finally dice about 4 ounces of salt pork. Soak it briefly in a cup of hot water to remove excess salt. Stir the salt pork into the daube where it will gradually dissolve adding flavor.

Take the pot from the oven and remove the beef marrow from the bones and discard the bones. The marrow will dissolve into the daube adding a rich flavor and a wonderful sheen to the final dish.

Add the bacon and the tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Add the 2 pounds of sliced carrots. Cover the daube and return it to the oven for another 2 hours. Check the meat at that time. It should be almost falling apart. If it isn't, place the covered pot back in the oven for an additional hour.

When the daube is done cooking, remove it and let it sit until it has almost cooled off. Check it for seasoning. You might want to add more salt. Remove the bacon strips and dispose of them. Add the orange zest and stir it in. Remove the thyme stalks at this time. Place it in your refrigerator for another 24 - 48 hours

Several hours before you are ready to serve it, remove it from the refrigerator and skim off any accumulated fat. I had very little on my daube so I left it on.

Reheat it in a slow oven at about 190 degrees for a couple of hours.

I don't even know how to describe the flavor in this dish. It goes far beyond the best beef bourguignon I have ever tasted. The blending of the olives, marrow, orange zest and carrots.....well, there is simply nothing quite like it. And, it gets better as the days go by if you are lucky enough to have it last that long..