Recipe: Provencal Beef Stew (Daube Provencal)

by Ginny on April 3, 2011

This recipe is unlike any beef stew you’ve ever tasted. It contains an entire bottle of red wine, strips of orange zest, nicoise olives, and– you wouldn’t know it– anchovies. With all the nuances of a fine red wine– subtle, aromatic, slightly fruity– you won’t be sorry you took the time to make this. I like to serve it over Spaetzle, with a simple salad of arugula tossed with fresh squeezed lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

Recipe republished from “The Best International Recipe” by the editors of “Cook’s Illustrated,”  with permission from America’s Test Kitchen.

“We tie the salt pork with twine in order to make it easy to identify after cooking; otherwise, it looks exactly like a piece of stew meat. Cabernet Sauvignon is our favorite wine for this recipe, but Cotes du Rhone and Zinfandel also work. If nicoise olives are not available, kalamata olives, though not authentic, can be substituted. Because the tomatoes are added just before serving, it is preferable to use canned whole tomatoes and dice them yourself– they are more tender than canned diced tomatoes. Serve this French beef stew with egg noodles or boiled potatoes.”

  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, halved and sliced 1/8 inch thick (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated, liquid strained [through a coffee filter], and mushrooms minced
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle bold red wine (about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 5 ounces salt pork, rind removed, tied tightly with butcher’s twine for identification purposes
  • 4 (3-inch long) strips orange zest from one orange, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 cup pitted nicoise olives, patted dry and chopped coarse
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 5 sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Adjust an oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat the beef dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 7 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat if the pot begins to scorch. Transfer the browned beef to a medium bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil and the remaining beef; transfer the meat to the bowl.

2. Add one more tablespoon of the oil to the pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, porcini, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in the broth and water until smooth.

3. Stir in the browned meat with any accumulated juices, carrots, salt pork, orange zest, 1/2 of the olives, garlic, anchovies, thyme bundle, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and arrange the meat so it is completely covered by the liquid. Cover the pot partially (the lid should be just off center to leave about 1 inch open), transfer to the oven, and cook until a fork inserted in the beef meets little resistance and the sauce is thickened and glossy, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

4. Remove and discard the salt pork (easily identified by the string), thyme bundle, and bay leaves. Stir in the tomatoes and the remaining 1/2 cup olives, cover, and set aside to heat through, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, skim the excess fat from the surface of the stew. Stir in the parsley before serving.

Serves 6

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