Using your fingers and a thin knife, pull the roast apart along its natural seams. Trim off any thick layers of fat. Carve the roast into 1-1/2- to 2-inch cubes and arrange them on a paper-towel- lined tray to dry.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325ºF.
Heat the oil and bacon together in a 7- or 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the bacon is browned but not crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small plate. Season about one-third of the beef with salt and pepper, and arrange the cubes in a sparse single layer in the pot to brown. Adjust the heat so the beef sizzles and browns but does not burn. Cook until all sides are a rich brown, a total of about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate or tray, and season and brown the remaining beef in two more batches.
When all the beef chunks are browned, pour off all but about 1 Tbs. of drippings, if necessary. Set the pot over medium-high heat, add the shallots, season with a large pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, and sauté until they just begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the brandy and let it boil away. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbes de Provence, stirring to incorporate, and sauté for another 1 minute. Add the wine, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the caramelized drippings, and bring to a boil. Pour in the liquid from the tomatoes, holding the tomatoes back with your hand. Then one by one, crush the tomatoes with your hand over the pot and drop them in. Add the orange zest, and return the beef (along with accumulated juices) and bacon to the pot. Finally, add the carrots, bring to a simmer, cover, and slide into the oven.
Cook the stew, stirring every 45 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender (taste a piece; all trace of toughness should be gone), 2 to 3 hours. Before serving, skim off any surface fat (if there is any), taste for salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley.
Make Ahead Tips
This dish can be made up to three days ahead. Reserve the chopped parsley and don’t bother skimming the surface fat. Instead, transfer the cooled stew to a bowl or baking dish, cover tightly, and refrigerate. Before reheating, lift off the layer of solid fat that will be on the surface. Reheat gently in a 325ºF oven in a covered baking dish, stirring once, for about 30 min., or until hot. Taste for salt and pepper and add the parsley just before serving.
Mashed potatoes would be a perfect foil for the daube’s rich wine sauce. Or you could serve the daube with wide egg noodles tossed with butter and parsley.
This stew needs a rich, earthy red from the Old World, such as a Grenache blend from the southern Rhône Valley. Try the 2005 Mas Grand Plagniol “Tradition,” Costières de Nîmes, $10, or the 2004 Château du Trignon, Gigondas, $18.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on six servings, Calories
25, Fat Calories
230, Saturated Fat
49, Monounsaturated Fat
20, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips