When we’re feeling a little too lazy to make a Beef Bourguignon, but want a hearty stew, the next best thing is a Beef Daube. Unlike a Bourguignon, with a Daube, one doesn’t need to fry the meat beforehand, which makes it the perfect throw-in-a-pot-and-let-simmer-away dish.
Another beauty with the Daube is that there are no hard and fast rules about what braising liquids you have to use. Short on time? Put in less liquid so there is less reducing time. No red wine handy? (Now that would be unusual but still…) Use beer, or sherry, or even verjuice. So long as there are some aromatics (onions, carrots, even celery), herbs and a good beef stock, the end result is sure to be a heart-warming meal.
Requirements: A heavy cast iron pot like a Le Creuset or any large pot with a heavy base
Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes + 3 hours
4-5 people. Serve alongside some creamy mash, polenta, rice or even noodles
- 1 kilo of beef chuck, blade or rump. Just make sure it’s a cheap cut. Trim the fat, and cut into 2-centimeter cubes. If it’s been cut by your butcher, make sure it’s light on the fat
- 500ml The Stock Merchant Free Range Beef Stock
- Half a bottle of red wine, or another cooking liquor mentioned above
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 or 3 carrots, peeled, quartered, cut into 2 centimetre sections
- 10 mushrooms, quartered (optional)
- A little celery or garlic (optional)
- Herbs – a bouquet garni would be great, or just use some thyme or Italian parsley
- A good amount of salt
- A slug of olive oil
- Flour or cornstarch for thickening (if required)
- Gently fry the onions (and garlic if you’re using that) in the olive oil.
- Add the diced beef, red wine or cooking liquor, free range beef stock and salt.
- Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer. Skim off any impurities that float to the surface.
- If you want the vegetables well done, throw them in now. If you’d prefer them to still be crisp and fresh, add them during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Add herbs, make sure they are tied with string so they can be easily removed.
- Simmer for a good 3 hours. The braising liquid will slowly reduce and the meat will become beautifully tender.
- Once the liquid has reduced the sauce should have thickened a little (this depends on the gelatine content of the meat). If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, make a slurry with either cornstarch or flour, one tablespoon flour to two tablespoons cold water. Mix together making sure there are no lumps, then add to Daube and cook further, the sauce will thicken. If you want it to be thicker still, add more.
- Remove the herbs and serve Daube alongside creamy mashed potatoes, or polenta (make it with Free Range Chicken Stock for a better flavour), or rice or noodles. Blanch some green beans and toss them with shallots, toasted almond slivers and sea salt for a fresh vegetable side.