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It is to a female flaw, it is said, that we owe this good old recipe for beef stew.
The story takes place in Provence, where they never disdained the pleasures of conversation.
A peasant woman, one morning, began to cook a piece of beef, and forgets about it immediately, went about verbal exchange with a neighbor who was passing by.
Beef slowly began to stick to the bottom of the pot, with a characteristic odor that reminded our cook to her chores.
To repair the damage, she covered her roast with water and unrepentant, went back again to her gossip.
Three times during the day, she forgets her ox, three times, she watered the sauce.
The third time, for fear of criticism from her husband and to conceal the disaster, she used what she had on hand, tomato sauce, herbs and spices.
Needless to say, the husband found the food delicious and wanted more. The daube was born!
The stew is most often served with pasta (dish of macaroni kind, even shells) or mashed potatoes, and you should drink red wine at the table, if possible identical to that used for the marinade.
The origin of the word “daube” probably derives from the Provençal adobar, meaning “prepare, arrange.” This refers to how to cook some meats stewed in a closed container (daubière). Each family had its own recipe, handed down from mother to daughter …
The daube d’Avignon is a variant of the classic stew: beef is replaced by the shoulder of lamb or mutton, while the marinade is done in white wine.
Another variation of the classic stew, the stew Comtadine in which there is no carrot, but black olives. Also, daube Camarguaise uses toro (fighting bull), anchovies and black olives.
Here is the original recipe for 6 pers. you need 1,500 kg of beef (casserole cuts).
For the marinade: 1 bottle of red wine, 1 cup vinegar, 1 small glass of brandy (optional), 3 onions, 4 carrots, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 bouquet garni, salt, pepper and 4-spices.
For the cooking: 250 g of lard, 1 piece of orange peel, 1 bacon rind, 4 tomatoes, 100 g of olives.
Marinate the piece of beef with the ingredients listed (onions and carrots are chopped and garlic crushed) overnight.
The next day, drain and dry the meat.
Melt half of lard in a pan with a thick bottom. (Our ideal cast iron casserole)
Fry the meat, add the rest of the bacon this time, the cut bacon and the drained vegetables from the marinade, stir occasionally, then wet with the heated liquid from the marinade.
Let reduce by half, pour hot water to completely cover the meat, add the orange peel, place the rind on top and seal the pot.
Simmer over very low heat for about 4 hours.
Then remove the rind, degrease the sauce, let it reduce again if it is too much, add the peeled and crushed tomatoes and olives: yet let simmer 30 minutes before serving.
Bonus: you can add to your meat a calf’s foot that you remove before serving but make the sauce even creamier.
Remember that this recipe simmered slowly on the wood or coal stove so common at that time but now it seems expensive considering the time of our cooking on hobs from modern days. You can always cook this dish for more meals, as it freezes well as all casseroles do!