Let’s talk today about “Daubes”…
Any traditional dishes that have stood the test of time invariably are accompanied by one or more stories and legends. They evolved thanks to knowledge, environment and are also sometimes the result of a stroke of genius. That’s the case for instance for the “Daube Provençale” native of Provence in the south of France. Historians of gastronomy generally agree that the “ Daube” was born along the wild roads of the 19th century in Provence, when the carters transported wares from small villages to the Big Cities. Generous helpings of restorative food served with local red wine became the mainstay of these merchants’ journeys. The Innkeepers ingenuity was simple. It involved mixing simple foods that could be improved with longer cooking hours so as the food could be simmered and offered to the travelers at any time of the day or night. This “comfort food” was first cooked with potatoes, spelled boiled meat or Polenta (which had been introduced by the Italians) and later with a Macaronade. Then, the “Daube” became popular at festivals and was adopted as a mainstay by bourgeois families. In 1905 the popular magazine “La Cuisine des Familles” published the time-honored recipe as it appears below written by three talented men. One was an intellectual, the other a lawyer, and the last one a journalist. Three men with an hedonistic soul. By this time there were many variations on the recipe that had evolved, but this was deemed the most authentic. Follow this recipe for a hearty epicurean experience evocative of a time in Provence that is difficult to capture any other way. Bon Appétit!
Le boeuf à la Provençale avec sa Macaronade
For 4 people
1 kg of beef cubes (Bourgignon cubes)
1 calf’s foot cut in half lengthwise
120 grams of bacon cut into squares
50 gr of Lard
50 gr of olive oil
6 mediums onions + 1 with few cloves in it
2 beautiful carrots cut in four on the length
2 beautiful juicy tomatoes – or 3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 – 5 pretty garlic cloves
2-3 branches of parsley
2 bay leaves
1 strong branch of thyme
1 bottle of red wine: a good table wine will do the trick. Do not choose a wine too rich and too expensive.
250 gr 300 gr of pasta macaroni or other
50 gr grated Parmesan cheese
100 gr grated gruyere cheese
Freshly ground white pepper
Material: A casserole tightly closed + A pan
Le Boeuf en daube à la Provençale
Be sure to add the food in the correct order.
Spread the lard in the casserole
Pour the olive oil and spread the bacon you have cut into small squares
Add the thyme, bay leaf, parsley, cloves of garlic, peppercorns, chopped tomatoes, clove onion and in the middle of it all, place the calf’s foot cut in two and add the whole piece of beef.
Put all around the beef, the carrots cut in four, the whole onions.
Salt very little.
Covert the meat and vegetable with wine.
Cover the casserole and bring to boil. Then lower the fire until you get a shudder, and close the casserole. This stew requires cooking of six to eight hours.
Three-quarters of an hour before serving, put in a large saucepan 3 liters of water to boil, then salt.
When it’s boiling, throw your pasta macaroni in it.
When almost cooked, remove the pan completely from the heat, cover it and leave it for five minutes (during this time, the macaroni will finish to cook, and swell).
After five minutes, rinse the macaroni under water and place them into a strainer, but do not keep them too long, as they will settle and stick together.
Pour them into a pan
Add some salt and pepper
Bring the macaroni close to the Daube and use a spoon, to take some juice and add the pasta.
Be careful, do not drop to much sauce in your macaroni. The pasta must be lightly and unctuously soaked.
Put the pan back on the fire.
Add grated parmesan cheese and grated Gruyere Cheese, stir slightly and add a little more of the Daube’s juice if necessary.
You now have 2 dishes coming separately. Macaroni can be served first in a hot plate but today most of the people serve them on the same plate with the ‘Daube’. Place the beef gently in the plate, because the meat is very cooked, and almost melted. Put the sauce through a fine strainer over the meat, so the meat will get the good juice cleared of all spices, calf’s bones, etc. If you have any left, place the remaining meat in a bowl with its juice and place it in the Fridge. The next day eat it with a good slice of French bread and a glass of Rosé wine. It’s fantastic!
Wine recomendation: Chateauneuf du Pape
Grandson of a famous Chef (his grandfather owned the Buffet de la Gare de Rennes (France) at the end of the 19th century), Thierry Guineau has accumulated forty years of culinary experience throughout the world. During his stay in Asia, he was recognized prodigious, draped in his jacket of Executive Chef at the Meridien of Jakarta, at the Holiday Inn Harbin China, at the Meridien of Phuket, the Sheraton Zhongshan in China, or at the Coco Beach Vietnam, to name a few. Today, he leaves in Mui Né, Vietnam and share his free time between consulting and professional training where he passes on his knowledge to the most disadvantaged.