Cooking Daube Provencal

Daube Provencal
Serve this French beef stew with egg noodles or boiled potatoes. If nicoise olives are not available, kalamata olives, though not authentic, can be substituted. Cabernet Sauvignon is our favorite wine for this recipe, but Côtes du Rhône and Zinfandel also work. Our favorite cut of beef for this recipe is chuck-eye roast, but any boneless roast from the chuck will work. Because the tomatoes are added just before serving, it is preferable to use canned whole tomatoes and dice them yourself— uncooked, they are more tender than canned diced tomatoes. Once the salt pork, thyme, and bay leaves are removed in step 4, the daube can be cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Before reheating, skim the hardened fat from the surface, then continue with the recipe.

3/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed well
1 boneless beef chuck-eye roast (about 31/2 1/2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks (see note)
11/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces salt pork, rind removed
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds (about 2 cups)
2 medium onions, halved and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
4 medium garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 (750-ml) bottle bold red wine (see note)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
4 strips zest from 1 orange, each strip about 3 inches long, removed with a vegetable peeler, cleaned of white pith, and cut lengthwise into thin strips
1 cup pitted niçoise olives, drained well (see note)
3 anchovy fillets, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
5 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
2 bay leaves
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Cover the mushrooms with 1 cup hot tap water in a small microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in the plastic with a paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Let stand until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Lift the mushrooms from the liquid with a fork and chop into 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 4 tablespoons). Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a paper towel into a medium bowl. Set the mushrooms and liquid aside.
2. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Dry the beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season with the salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking; add half of the beef. Cook without moving the pieces until well browned, about 2 minutes on each side, for a total of 8 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat if the fat begins to smoke. Transfer the meat to a medium bowl. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining meat.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the salt pork, carrots, onions, garlic, and tomato paste to the now-empty pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly add the wine, gently scraping the pan bottom to loosen the browned bits. Add the broth, water, beef, and any juices in the bowl. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a full simmer. Add the mushrooms and their liquid, orange zest, 1/2 cup of the olives, anchovies, thyme, and bay leaves, distributing evenly and arranging the beef so it is completely covered by the liquid; cover partially and place in the oven. Cook until a fork inserted in the beef meets little resistance (the meat should not be falling apart), 21/2 to 3 hours.
4. Discard the salt pork, thyme, and bay leaves. Add the tomatoes and the remaining 1/2 cup olives; warm over medium-high heat until heated through, about 1 minute. Cover the pot and allow the stew to settle, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, skim the excess fat from the surface of the stew. Stir in the parsley and serve.

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