Serious Eats: Recipes

Dorie Greenspan's Go-To Beef Daube

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

When Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table says this version of Beef Daube is her go-to recipe for the French classic, there's really no doubt in my mind that it's going to be incredible. Luckily, the cool temperatures over the weekend made this beef stew a perfect way to dive into fall and winter braises.

Greenspan chose chuck for her daube, a cut that's tender enough to break down in just a few hours with just enough fat to be intensely beefy and flavorful. The recipe begins by rendering bacon and then browning the chunks of chuck in the bacon fat in batches. After the beef is browned and removed from the pot, onions and shallots are softened in the beef juices, followed by carrots and parsnips (left in big chunks) and a full head of halved garlic. The pan is deglazed with cognac, a step that was entirely new to me but added the most wonderfully rich flavor. The beef, bacon, and wine join the rest of the ingredients and are left to simmer in the oven for two and a half hours, just enough time for the meat to tenderize and your kitchen to fill to the brim with the aromas of the cooking daube.

I've always found that stew recipes need far more time than the recipe calls for but Greenspan's daube was falling-apart tender precisely at the two-and-a-half-hour mark. The beef cooked perfectly, the carrots and parsnips were at that lovely place in between fork-soft and mushy, and the sauce had thickened to the point of velvetiness.

Oftentimes adding an entire bottle of wine to a stew runs the risk of unwanted acidity (depending, of course, on the bottle that you use) but the cognac countered it with a flavor that was rich, almost reminiscent of vanilla. One last element that set this daube apart from others that I've tried is the fact that is was fantastic the day it was made, no need for a day or two in the fridge for the flavors to develop.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Around My French Table to give away this week.

Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright © 2010. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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