A very slow-cooked beef stew with bright flavors that are meant to develop with time… It is said that Provençal Daube is best enjoyed re-heated the next day (perfect for cooking ahead).
Since visiting and falling in love with Marseille two years ago, I have been on a Provençal cooking streak.
Growing up in Brittany, on the opposite side of France, Provençal cuisine was mostly foreign to my palate as a child. But as I reached my twenties, I started to explore new recipes, and for some reason, have always been drawn toward Provencal cooking… I saw it as a magical blend of comforting Classic-French recipes and sun-kissed Mediterranean flavors. And this Provençal White Wine Beef Daube is a perfect example of this.
If you are new to Provençal cooking, and are looking for a classic, go-to stew for this winter (but with a nice twist), this one is for you. I think it perfectly exemplifies the simplicity and beauty of Provençal cooking, which always uses ingredients that are dear to their region (in this case, oranges).
The Beef Daube is one of the most iconic dishes from Provence. This slow-cooked braised beef stew is enjoyed at lunch time in most restaurants and bistros of the region, with the ingredients being tweaked in each city. For instance, the Daube from Avignon features lamb, while the one from Marseille features beef.
You might have guest it by the pictures, the twist here, is the addition of orange peels to the stew.
I was a bit hesitant the first time I tried it. It is a bit unusual (in European cooking) to find orange in meat dishes, and I didn’t know how it would blend with the beef. But trust me, it truly makes the dish. The orange peels become so tender after hours of simmering and add so much brightness and a flavor profile that just fits.
As with most stews, the beef needs to marinate overnight. The next day, the whole cooking process takes several hours, but is easy to do if you just follow the steps.
There is a lot going on in this dish. The slow-cooked beef is earthy and comforting, the white wine and citrus are bright and vibrant, and the pancetta bits add the right amount of saltiness and character to it.
- Traditionally, this stew was prepared in a “daubiere”, a bulbous clay pot that gave its name to the dish. I prepare mine in a cast iron pot, which works perfectly.
- The one rule for this dish is “no flour”. It is not meant to be as thick as other classic French stews, such as Pot-au-Feu, Beef Bourguignon or Carbonnade Flamande. If, when the cooking is done, you still wish to obtain a thicker sauce, remove the meat and reduce the liquid by simmering on medium-high heat.
- Traditionally, this stew can be made either with white or red wine. I made this one with white wine, since this is what I had on hand. It worked perfectly with the citrus notes, and I thought gave a lighter-feeling stew. This winter, I will make it again with red wine.
- Some recipes call for the addition of black olives and/or anchovies – I chose to avoid them (I thought the pancetta itself would add enough saltiness). But feel free to add ¼ cup of pitted black olives and/or 6 cured anchovies if you are looking for some extra oomph of flavor.
- Opt for an organic orange. With the peel slowly cooking in the broth, you want to avoid any chemicals on the skin. And you can eat it too!
How To Serve
Traditionally, this Provençal White Wine Beef Daube is enjoyed with fresh tagliatelles or macaroni. And it is even better re-heated the next day…!
Provençal White Wine Beef DaubePrint This
20g of pancetta, diced
4.5 lbs of stewing beef, diced in 2”cubes
4 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni (sage, thyme, parsley)
1 bottle of white or red cooking wine
4 tbsp of olive oil
1 organic orange
The day before, place the beef, pancetta, garlic cloves (whole), cloves, bouquet garni and entire bottle of wine in a big bowl, a big pot or a large ziplock bag. Close and let sit overnight in the fridge.
The day of, take out the meat from the fridge. Chop the onions and peel and chop the carrots roughly.
Remove the beef and pancetta from the marinade. In a cast iron (or large pot), heat-up 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the meat (3-4 minutes on each side). Once brown, add the onions and carrots. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, then add the rest of the marinate (wine and herbs).
Cut 2 long peels from the orange, and throw the peels in the stew, along with ¼ cup of water. Bring to a simmer.
Simmer the stew for 5 hours on low heat, stirring occasionally. After 5 hours, season with salt and pepper.