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Beef Stew with Red Wine & Carrots (Daube de Boeuf aux Carottes)

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Serves six.

  • To learn more, read:
    Bistro Cooking at Home
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 84

Very simply, a daube (pronounced dohb) is a red-wine-based beef or lamb stew. This type of dish has countless flavor permutations, of course, but the most famous (and my favorite) is the Provençal daube, seasoned with local herbs and a bit of orange zest. The orange was originally the bitter Seville orange, but you can make a fine daube with a few strips of navel orange (add a strip of lemon, too, if you want to sharpen the flavor). I also like to add some sort of vegetable garnish to sweeten and brighten the stew. Here I’ve used carrots cut into hefty chunks so they hold their shape during the long cooking, but you could also use a combination of parsnips, baby onions, and celeriac.

  • 1 3-lb. boneless beef chuck roast
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. shallots (8 to 10 medium), thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. brandy, such as Cognac
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (2 to 3 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 2 cups hearty red wine, such as Côtes de Provence or Côtes du Rhône
  • 1 14.5-oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 4 strips orange zest (2-1/2 inches long, removed with a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 lb. slender carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Tip:
Rather than buying already cut-up stew meat, buy a whole chuck roast and cut it into 1-1/2- to 2-inch cubes. These larger chunks won’t dry out during the long braise, and they make the stew more satisfying to eat.

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.

Beef Stew with Red Wine & Carrots (Daube de Boeuf aux Carottes) Recipe

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.

Serving Suggestions

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.

Drink Suggestions

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):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 580; Fat (g): fat g 25; Fat Calories (kcal): 230; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 9; Protein (g): protein g 49; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 20; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 630; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 160; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Have made several times, but learned after the first time, not enough liquid. So each subsequent preparation I have doubled and will triple the liquid ingredients starting from the cognac through doubling cans of tomatoes depending on how much beef and/or additional veggies I add. Making at least the day before is a good idea if for no other reason than it takes so long for prep and cooking. Served with barley, french bread, fresh salad, and butternut squash bisque, followed by creme brûlée and cherry pie. Will repeat this menu for other dinner parties. Very good recipe.

easy to make, complex and delicious!

This is something I will make again for my husband and myself, for sure! It would be good for company, as well. I didn't have any brandy and the wine I used was a homemade grape variety my husband made. It's quite sweet, so I omitted the orange peel, so it wouldn't be too fruity tasting. I served it with mashed potatoes and parsnips. I was just wonderful and very filling!

This is just flat-out wonderful. You really should make it a couple days ahead, because the flavor really improves. You can taste that undertone of orange. Take your time with the searing. It builds up a nice "fond" in the bottom of the pot and adds so much flavor. Using a dutch oven is great for this, and preferably NOT nonstick. I have used Pinot Noir for this on occasion, as well as Cotes de Provence. I've used Courvoisier Cognac, as well as plain old E&J Brandy. Both work fine. I don't deviate from the recipe at all. It is perfect. I serve it on rustic mashed potatoes in white pasta bowls, sprinkled with fresh parsley and it looks so pretty. I usually serve it with a green salad, and the vinaigrette provides welcome acid to "cut" the lovely heaviness of this dish. Superb!

Molly Stevens is among the best! I have made this often and it has to be the best stew, bar none, Tks FC & Ms Stevens for excellence for home cooks. Doreen from Montreal, Quebec

Deep,complex flavor.If I thought that the dish was simmering too strongly, I lowered the heat,which would keep sufficient liquid for serving.

Deep,complex flavor.If I thought that the dish was simmering too strongly, I lowered the heat,which would keep sufficient liquid for serving.

Excellent (and simple, relative to other daube recipes) recipe. I followed the intro. and added parnsips and onions.

ANY recipe from Molly Stevens is a winner and this one is no exception. She really knows her braising! This stew was hearty and delicious. I was a bit skeptical about the Herbes de Provence, but they did not overpower the stew at all and gave it an added dimension. Will definitely be on the menu again at our house this winter!

I've made this several times and it's always a hit. It's also good with tiny sour pickled onions which I add at the end, and some red pepper flakes which go in at the beginning.

This was very good but I agree with not enough sauce- next time I'll add more wine. Also- for some reason the orange peel / orange taste was too strong - we will not add orange peel next time.

Good recipe. I added some rosemary and more pepper. the whole house smelled amazing. This dish tastes best a day later and don't forget the homemade mashed potatoes.

Great recipe! The smell in the house as it braised was wonderful. I think I could have added a little more garlic.

I love this recipe! It's truly comfort food at it's best. Whenever I serve this for company I can always count on at least one request for the recipe. VAgardengirl

I have made this a few times without fail. I am making it tomorrow for guests.Simply the best beef stew!

Very tasty! Use large chunks of meat and definitely serve with potatoes (the dish does not have enough sauce to serve with noodles).

This is simply outstanding - meat melts in your mouth, flavors blend incredibly. An absolute must try.

Excellent stew! Served over mashed potatoes as suggested and the entire family loved it.

This is one of the best stews I have ever made. Next time I will add some parsnips per other's recommendations.

The note about making this ahead of time so the flavors meld is spot-on. We actually had leftovers (only two of us), and for the next three days, this dish got better and better. I also tried the trick of putting a sheet of parchment under the lid so the condensate would drip on the meat, but I think it might have effected the seal, as there wasn't as much sauce as we'd have liked. I'll try increasing the wine to 3 cups (the whole bottle - none for the cook) next time. And I think the addition of red pearl onions would be the hot ticket.

Absolutely delicious. I added some parsnips in with the carrots. DH and I loved this dish.

Unbelievably good! I served this over smashed cauliflower w/ olive oil. One of the best dinners I've ever made.

This is an outstanding recipe! The meat melts in your mouth - my husband looked at me after the first bite and said, "THIS is beef stew"? - in such disbelief because the taste is so phenomenal. This is our new favorite dinner!

I made this dish several times last year. Would recommend it highly. Recipe is even better if you are able to substitute a Bison chuck roast for beef. Am planning to try it w/ an elk roast this winter.

Loved this recipe... it will certainly be a stew we make often during the winter months. vera

I have made this several times...last time was for a group at work - they raved about it. You can't miss with this one - absolutely delicious.

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