Daube is the kind of under-the-radar French fare that doesn't have a big name. It's no boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, or onion soup. You've probably never heard of it. But once you have Daube you quickly add it to the canon of French classics in your repertoire. It's a time-honored, wine-based French stew that I've had mostly in the southern parts of France, flavored with herbes de Provence and, in this case, orange and olives. Think of it as a boeuf bourguignon that replaces the heavy flavors of bacon and mushrooms with punchy, bright flavors of sunnier skies. It's memorable. Memorable to me, mostly, because it appeared nightly on the Provençal prix-fixe menus of every restaurant I frequented in the summer of 2009. Daube has now become something a family joke because we ate it almost every other night for a month!
This French in a Flash take on the summer Daube dinner is a bit of a French sloppy Joe-meets-cheese steak. I make a kind of Daube stew sauce from sweet onions, carrot, orange, garlic, and oil-cured black olives with rosé wine and stock. Into the simmering sauce goes high-quality bought sliced roast beef that soaks up the sauce as though it had been stewing all day. The meat gets piled into a crusty garlic-rubbed baguette or roll, and eaten greedily for dinner with a cold glass of whatever's left in the bottle of rosé. It's casual, but like Daube, pungent, punchy, unexpected, and unforgettable. An effortless, but flavorful, every-night dinner.
- Yield:2 to 4
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 half medium yellow onion, sliced thinly on a mandoline
- 1 half small carrot, peeled
- 1 clove of garlic, whole but bruised, plus 1 large clove, whole and peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
- 5 French oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped
- 3 wide strips of orange zest, made with a vegetable peeler
- 1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dry rosé wine (red or white would do as well)
- 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound thinly-sliced rare roast beef
- 1 thin baguette, or 4 French rolls, or 4 small Kaiser rolls
Heat olive oil over in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, bruised garlic clove, and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add herbes de Provence, olives, orange zest, and flour, cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add wine, stirring vigorously and allow to reduce for 30 seconds. Add beef stock, and whisk to pick browned bits on bottom of pan. Cover, and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes until gravy-like consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Separate slices of beef, and add to pot. Remove from heat and stir beef into sauce. Cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Remove carrot, orange zest, and whole garlic. Discard.
Toast baguette or rolls in a toaster under the broiler. Cut remaining whole garlic clove in half, and rub bread with cut side of garlic. Pile meat into bread and serve immediately.