03 December 2006

Boeuf en Daube a la Camargue


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.

13 comments:

Lydia said...

Lovely! We had our first little snow of the season here in Rhode Island this morning, so I'm definitely in the mood for stew. One question: what could you substitute for Kitchen Bouquet, or would you just leave it out if you didn't have it?

Mimi said...

I would try Worcestershire Sauce, or maybe a packet of onion soup mix.

Good question, Lydia: I've used all of them, at various times.

christine said...

This sounds wonderful Mimi. I've saved it to my recipe file.

Mimi said...

You may want to add more seasonings, I did, and then lost track of what I added.

Jann said...

This is the perfect time for this type of meal.........it was actually cooler today, not 82 like it was yesterday! I think I'll bake a loaf of bread to accompany the stew!

Mimi said...

82 — I am craving 82. It's more than 60 degrees colder here on the tundra.

Tanna said...

I'm loving the cooler weather!! And this stew is just the kind of food I enjoy with cooler weather!!! Hooray!
I do like the French Culinary Institutes Salute to Healthy Cooking and you are so right, I seem to combine several recipes and make my own thing in the end.
Oh, and Aunt Eunie is really for Eunice, hadn't heard of Eunette but that's really pretty.

Mimi said...

Tanna, I followed this recipes to the T once, and ended up making my own adjustments. It tastes better the second day, like many recipes.

Lu said...

Hi, I just discovered you through David Lebovitz' blog. And, am I glad! This daube recipe looks fantastic, I just made a daube a few weeks ago (from French Farmhouse Cooking, Susan Herrmann Loomis). Anyway, you are a very talented cook. I feel that I am a very talented cookbook reader and occasionally dare to mix and match ingredients. I have bookmarked you. PS - I love Paris and northern France -- but have yet to make that important journey to the south.

Mimi said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Lu. There is so much of France to discover. I loved Susan Herrmann Loomis' book, "On Rue Tatin" — she comes across as so genuine and kind. I'd love to take one of her courses — maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

Heavens! The ultimate beef stew. Must try this immediately!

Mimi said...

Taste as you cook, Lisa, as the tomato may require the addition of a bit of sugar for some palates.

I dirty a lot of spoons making stuff like this.

Carole said...

Merci, Mimi. Feel free to link some more in since this is your speciality. Cheers