PROVENCAL BEEF AND OLIVE DAUBE

A daube is a French method of braising meat with wine and herbs. This version from the Nice area in the south of France also includes black olives and tomatoes.

SERVES SIX
INGREDIENTS
  • 1.3-1.6 kg / 3-3½ topside (pot roast) of beef
  • 225 g / 8 oz lardons, or thick streaky (fatty) bacon cut into strips
  • 225 g / 8 oz carrots, thickly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 2 fresh parsley stalks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 225 g / 8 oz / 2 cups pitted black olives
  • 400 g / 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • crusty bread, flageolet (small cannellini) beans or pasta, to serve
For the marinade
  • 120 ml / 4 fl oz / ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or other mild oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 150 ml / ¼ pint / ⅔ cup red wine
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 2 fresh parsley stalks
  • salt and ground pepper
VARIATIONS
  • This dish can be varied quite easily. Simple keep the main ingredients the same and change the herbs: instead of thyme and parsley, try rosemary.
  • If you prefer, use chicken instead of beef and make the marinade with white wine.
  • You could vary this dish further by choosing sweet white wine or adding some extra sugar, and leaving out the olives and herbs in favor of Chinese five-spice powder. This will give the dish a more exotic flavor.
  • If you donít have any chopped tomatoes, you could chop canned whole tomatoes yourself, but these tend to be rather more watery.
COOK'S TIP
For those with an alcohol sensitivity, red grape juice and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice can be substituted for the red wine.
  1. To make the marinade, gently heat the oil in a large, shallow pan. Do not let it become too hot or it will smoke. Add the sliced onion, shallots, celery, and carrot, then cook for 2 minutes/
  2. Lower the heat and wait until the ingredients have cooled slightly, then add the red wine, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley stalks.
  3. Season with a little salt, then cover and simmer over a gently heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set the pan aside.
  4. Place the beef in a large glass or earthenware dish and pour over the cooled marinade from the frying pan.
  5. Cover the dish with a dishtowel, clear film (plastic wrap) or greaseproof (waxed) paper, and leave the beef to marinate in a cool place for several hours or in the refrigerator overnight. Turn the meat every few hours if possible, but turn it at least once during this time.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F / Gas 3. Lift the meat out of the marinade and fit snugly into a casserole. Add the lardons or bacon and carrots, along with the herbs and garlic.
  7. Strain in all the marinade. Cover the casserole with greaseproof paper, then the lid and cook in the oven for 2½ hours.
  8. Remove the casserole from the oven, blot the surface of the liquid with kitchen paper to remove the surplus fat, or use a spoon to skim it off, then stir in the olives and tomatoes.
  9. Re-cover the casserole, return to the oven, and cook for a further 30 minutes. Carve the meat into thick slices and serve it with chunky crusty bread, plain boiled flageolet beans or pasta.
Provencal Beef and Olive Daube