3 1/2 pound of beef, such as chuck roast, or a mixture of chuck roast, bottom round and, beef short ribs, excess fat removed and cut into chunks approximately 1 1/2” to 2”
1/4 pounds of pancetta cut into cubes or sliced, you can substitute bacon
2 large or 3 medium onions, sliced (size of slices doesn’t matter as these vegetables will be strained out before serving)
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery root peeled and sliced, or 2 stalks of celery, cleaned and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 oz of dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine such as a ôtes du Rhône, pinot noir, syrah, zinfandel or chianti
4 cups of beef stock, low or no sodium (you may not need it all)
1 herb bouquet: 6 stems of fresh flat leaf parsley, 6 stems of fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves tied together with a string
1/2 cup of Armagnac, Cognac or brandy
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of fresh mushrooms, wild or crimini,or what ever you prefer, cleaned, cut in half, if large
1 pound of small onions such as cipollini or pearl (frozen pearl onions will work)
1 or 2 bunches (depending on size) of baby or small carrots, cleaned and trimmed with a bit of the green remaining
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 stems of fresh flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
several tablespoons of water
Beurre Manié, 3 tablespoons of flour mixed with 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter (optional, to thicken the sauce)
One to three days in advance, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and an equal amount of olive oil in a large sauce or sauté pan. Over medium heat, add the onions, carrots, celery root or celery, and garlic, with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to combine and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Add the beef and the herb bouquet to a bowl and cover with the cooled marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stirring several times.
A day before serving, preheat the oven to 250º F.
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and allow they to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and chop. Strain any debris from the soaking liquid and reserve both the soaking liquid and the mushrooms.
Remove the daube from the refrigerator and strain out the meat and vegetables, pressing down to extract the juices from the vegetables. Separate the meat from the vegetables and dry with paper towels. Add the vegetables, herb bouquet and reserved porcini mushrooms to a Dutch oven or other large, thick-bottom pot with a lid.
In a large fry or sauté pan cook the pancetta over medium heat until most of the fat has been rendered out of it. Add some olive oil if needed. Using a slotted spoon remove the pancetta and add to the Dutch oven.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Generously season the meat with salt and pepper and, working in batches, brown the meat in the hot pancetta fat. Add additional olive oil, as needed. Leave enough space around each piece of meat so that it browns and does not steam. Do not move it until it gets a good sear. This should take about 5 minutes per batch. When the beef is completely browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and add it to the Dutch oven. Sprinkle the Armagnac or Cognac over the meat in the Dutch oven. Remove any excess fat from the sauté pan and deglaze with 1 cup of the marinade. To do this add the marinade to the pan, bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue to boil until the marinade is reduced to a glaze. Add another cup and, again reduce it to a glaze. Add the remainder of the marinade, the soaking liquid from the porcini mushrooms and 2 cups of beef stock to the sauté pan (use a larger pan if necessary), simmer, skimming, for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil and add to the Dutch oven. Cover the Dutch oven and cook in the oven for 3 or 4 hours. Start checking the meat after 3 hours and stop when it is fork-tender or tender enough for you. (If you cook the daube at 300º, the meat should be fork-tender in about 2 1/2 hours).
If you wanted to serve the daube a this point, it will certainly be an outstanding beef stew. Just strain the sauce (optional) and reduce, if necessary, taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.
I would, however, recommend, waiting one more day and adding additional vegetables to the final dish.
If you are going to wait, then allow the daube to cool completely, cover and refrigerate over night. You can leave it for several days if that works better with your schedule. On the day you are serving the daube, skim off any fat on the surface (this is generally easier after a dish has been refrigerated). Gently reheat the daube for 10 minutes over medium heat in a large sauce pan, remove from the heat, carefully remove the meat and place in a large bowl. Strain out the cooking liquid, again pressing down on the vegetables to extract juices. Discard the vegetables and herb bouquet. Pour the cooking liquid into the Dutch oven or a heavy sauce pan, bring to a slow boil and reduce, while skimming, to about 2 1/2 to 3 cups, about 10 to 15 minutes. If the sauce seems to thin, you can thicken it with the beurre manié. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in about 1/3 of the beurre manié until it is incorporated. Continue whisking for several minutes while the sauce is simmering gently. Do not allow it to boil. Repeat the process if it is still not thick enough. If you need to thin the sauce, add a bit of beef stock or water.
Combine the meat and the sauce in the Dutch oven. Gently reheat the meat, if necessary, cover and keep the daube warm over very low heat while you prepare the garnishes. (You can also, of course, prepare them in advance and add to the daube.)
Prepare the garnishes as follows:
If you are using fresh cipollini, pearl onions, or other small onions, blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then run under cold water to cool. They will be easier to peel at this point. If you are using frozen pearl onions, just make sure they are defrosted and drained. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté or fry pan. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until they turn golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of beef stock, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, 3 stems of fresh flat leaf parsley and 1 bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat until the onions are tender, but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. About 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to the Dutch oven.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté or fry pan. Increase heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms, with a pinch of salt. Stir the mushrooms so they are well coated. Sauté for 5 minutes then add about 3/4 cup of beef stock, 3 sprig of fresh thyme, 3 stems of fresh flat leaf parsley, and one bay leaf. Cover pan for about 10 minutes, then remove cover and continue to sauté until the liquid is almost completely removed. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary. Add to the Dutch oven.
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Place the carrots on a baking sheet or roasting pan, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with some olive oil and toss with your hand to coat. Arrange the carrots in a single layer on the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and cover with aluminum foil. Roast the carrots in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue to roast, turning occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, approximately an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
While the carrots are roasting, taste the daube, adjust the seasoning and the heat, if necessary. When the carrots are ready, you can either add them to the daube for a few minutes or serve them directly from the oven with the daube.
I like to serve daube de boeuf over pasta or noodles. Either fresh or dried pasta such as Cipriani’s Pappardelle Egg Pasta will work very well. Mashed potatoes are another good choice, but pick whatever you prefer, and enjoy.