We awoke to snow flurries and gray skies on Sunday. It was the kind of day that called for stew, but not my standard dish, something a bit more festive.
We wanted something with a taste of sunshine in it, maybe a dish from the south of France. Boeuf en Daube with capers seemed just the thing to remind us of sunny Provence and our dream of spending the holidays there. The dish was reportedly popular with the gardiens, the famous cowboys of the Camargue.
There are many recipes in cookbooks and online. I’m guessing many cooks borrow from one recipe and then another and come up with their own version. Here is mine, inspired by a recipe in “The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Healthy Cooking.”
Boeuf en Daube
- 6-8 small red potatoes, peeled
- dash fleur de sel from the Camargue
- 12-16 small carrots
- 8-10 pearl onions, peeled
- 1 ½ teaspoons white truffle olive oil
- 1 pound tenderloin, cubed
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 ½ teaspoons herbes de Provence
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground orange or lemon peel
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- dash Kitchen Bouquet
- 1/3 cup Niçoise olives
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
Before you do anything else, peel the potatoes, clean the carrots, peel the pearl onions, and chop the beef and the sweet onion.
Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and place to potatoes in it. Add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. After about 8 minutes, add the carrots and pearl onions. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the vegetables from the pan, reserving the liquid.
While the vegetables are cooking, brown the beef in olive oil in a large sauté pan. Once the meat is brown on all sides, removed from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Sauté onion and garlic in the oil and juices left from the meat. Once the onion softens a bit, add the wine. Continue cooking for about five minutes.
Pour reserved liquid from the vegetables into a stockpot. Add the herbes de Provence and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer before adding the meat. Bring to a second boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 90 minutes.
Taste periodically, adjusting the seasoning as needed. Toward the end of the 90-minute period, add the Kitchen Bouquet, tomatoes and the vegetables. Bring the stew to a boil, and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Add the capers and olives.
Note: If you are using a different cut of meat, you may want to marinate it first in wine, onions and garlic.