Daube of Beef
Ingredients
  • 2 1⁄2 pounds beef chuck steak or roast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 cups red wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces sliced bacon, or 4 ounces fresh pork skin
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 ounces small mushrooms, whole or halved
  • 2 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes (canned are fine), with juices
  • Bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and dried orange peel (see Note)
  • Handful of niçoise or other black olives (optional)
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds egg noodles
Time Estimates

Prep time: 30 min  

Cook time: 4 hrs  

Total time: 4 hrs 30 min  

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250˚F.
  2. Separate the meat along the natural seams (see Technique), remove the fat from the edges, and divide the larger muscles into pieces 2 to 3 inches square. If using a thicker roast, divide each piece across the grain to a thickness of 3⁄4 to 1 inch.
  3. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper, and place it in a deep, covered casserole or Dutch oven.
  4. Add the wine and oil, toss to combine, and let stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  5. If using bacon, quarter the slices and parboil the pieces for 2 minutes in a small pot of water.
  6. Drain and add to the casserole. If using pork skin, cut it into wide strips.
  7. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes to the casserole as you cut them up.
  8. Add the bouquet garni and the olives.
  9. Cover the casserole and bake until the meat is very tender, 3 to 4 hours. If time permits, transfer the stew to another container and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Remove the fat from the surface before reheating in a low oven. If serving the same day, let the stew rest for a while after baking and remove as much fat from the surface as you can.
  11. Boil the noodles until tender, drain, place in a serving dish, and moisten with a cup or so of the stew juices.
  12. Discard the bouquet garni and correct the seasoning before serving the stew on or alongside the noodles.
Yield

Serves 6

Which beer should I drink with this?

As with other “red wine” foods, a good hoppy pale ale or IPA.

Notes

1. There is no need to go out shopping for this; next time you eat an orange or tangerine (preferably organic or at least unsprayed), simply scrape the white pith off the inside of the pieces of peel, then let the strips dry on a sunny windowsill for a few days until leathery before storing them in a jar in the pantry.

2. I’m not trying to show off my fancy kitchen French, but bouquet garni is such a handy bit of shorthand for a basic item that every cook should know: a bundle of herbs (usually parsley, bay leaf, thyme and sometimes celery and other ingredients, in this case orange peel), bound together with cotton twine so they can flavor a stew or sauce and then be fished out before serving.

Technique

My favorite cut for this kind of stew is whole blade or 7-bone chuck steaks. This large crosscut of the whole chuck (shoulder) naturally breaks down into three sections: the nearly round “eye,” which is an extension of the central muscle of a rib roast and may have a rib bone attached; the rectangular “under blade” muscle, coarsest in texture; and two separate muscles on the other side of the shoulder blade bone, the “flatiron” and the “mock tender.” The relative size of each of these three sections varies from one end of the chuck to the other. Where the blade bone is long and straight, the flatiron and rib eye are relatively large and there is almost no mock tender; at the other end, where the blade bone is shorter with a definite T or 7 shape, the mock tender is larger and the flatiron and rib eye almost disappear.

Breaking down a chuck steak (or, if it is cut thicker, a roast) is a simple matter of separating the muscles along their natural seams and trim- ming them of excess fat. If you find them at a good price, consider buying several and breaking them down, then sorting the cuts and freezing some for other uses. The flatiron makes a nice steak for grilling or pansearing, although it does have a small seam of gristle down the middle; sliced across the grain, it’s also ideal for stir-frying. The rib eye is tender enough to use as a steak as well. The mock tender, despite its name, is not very tender, and is best for moist heat along with the under blade and all the miscellaneous bits.

If all this seems too complicated, just buy one steak and use it all for your daube, chili or whatever; some bites will come out more tender than others, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Or you could simply pay the butcher to do the cutting and buy cubes of stewing beef.

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

 

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