If you can’t visit France, at least taste it.

Maybe you were planning a trip to France (or thinking about it.) Not many of us are traveling these days, but you can bring a bit of France to your home during confinement. In this post, you’ll find a classic main course recipe from Provence, called Boeuf en Daube. It’s a type of beef stew that becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender as it bakes or simmers for hours. (You can make it on the stovetop or begin on the stove and finish in the oven.)

Boeuf en Daube

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 3 ounces bacon, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (1/2 t. dried or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme  (1/2 t. dried or to taste)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 300°. (You can also simmer very low on the stovetop.) 

Note: The following step is included in most authentic Boeuf en Daube recipes. (See below for an easier version.) Make a paste of the garlic and parsley. Take about 3 ounces of bacon and cut into tiny pieces. (These are called lardons in French.) Roll the pieces in the garlic-herb paste. Make a slit in each chunk of beef and slide one of the bacon pieces into each one. Anything leftover can be mixed into the sauce.

If this step seems like too much trouble, just brown the garlic as explained in the following paragraph. Include the other ingredients in the sauce.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan oven over low heat. (Add garlic to the pan if you don’t use the method above; cook for about 5 minutes or until garlic is soft and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set it aside.) Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add beef to the pan and sprinkle with half of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Brown for 5-7 minutes. Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen any pieces. Return beef (and garlic) to the pan, remaining teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, carrot, and parsley, onions, broth, tomato paste, spices, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.

At this point, you can either cover and bake it at 300° for 2 1/2 hours or simmer it very low on the stove-top for 2 to 3 hours until beef is very tender. Discard the bay leaf. Pour off any grease from the surface. Serve over egg noodles.

I hope you enjoyed this culinary virtual taste-visit to France!