After skimming the pages of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, hopefully searching for a recipe that sounded somewhat appetizing. (Most of her recipes involve ingredients that I don’t currently care to eat.) This recipe (aka Estouffade de Boeuf or Terrine de Boeuf) is a casserole of beef with wine and vegetables. “Daube” is a covered casserole, unfortunately I missed the line of the recipe with the direction to “cover closely”. This was also one of the few recipes I found with absolutely no butter! The fat comes from the bacon that gets layered into the casserole. My mom doesn’t own a 5-6 quart casserole dish (actually I don’t either), and the biggest size she could find was 1.5 quart. We borrowed a 3 quart dish from a neighbor and decided to cut the recipe in half. I’m not sure if that caused any problems with the preparation or cooking, maybe next time I’ll get a bigger dish and cook the full amount. The stew was very good and my dad requested the recipe after announcing it “a keeper”. If you have an entire day to waste cooking, you should definitely try this out. Actually I just spent some time in the morning, picking up groceries and tossing together the marinade, and then roughly 4 hours later I did some more preparations in creating the casserole and then it just went into the oven for 3 hours. I had my mom checking on it while Jeremiah and I took the dog (Red) out for a long walk. Here’s the recipe (full size):
3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2.5 in squares
1.5 cups dry white wine, dry white vermouth or red wine
1/4 cup brandy, eau de vie, or gin
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme or sage
1 crumbled bay leaf
2 cloves mashed garlic
2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1/2 lb lean bacon cut into 1″ slices, .25″ thick and 2″ long
1.5 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1.5 lbs ripe red tomatoes peeled, seeded, juiced and chopped
1 cup sifted flour on a plate
1 to 2 cups beef stock or bouillon
Place the beef in the bowl and mix with the wine, optional spirits, olive oil, seasonings, herbs, and vegetables. Cover and marinate at least 3 hours (6 if refridgerated), stirring up frequently.
Simmer the bacon for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Drain and dry. Prepare the mushrooms and tomatoes. (For tomatoes: drop tomatoes one at a time into boiling water to cover, boil for exactly 10 seconds. Remove. Cut out the stem. Peel off the skin starting from the stem hole. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise, not through the stem. Squeeze each half to extract the seeds and juices from the center of the tomato. Chop into small chunks.) Remove the beef from the marinade and drain in a sieve. Preheat oven 325 degrees. Line the bottom of the casserole with 3 or 4 strips of bacon. Strew a handful of the marinade vegetables, mushrooms and tomatoes over them. Piece by piece, roll the beef in the flour and shake off excess. Place closely together in a layer over the vegetables. Cover with a few strips of bacon, and continue with layers of vegetables, beef, and bacon. End with layer of vegetables and 2 or 3 strips of bacon.
Pour in the wine from the marinade and enough stock or bouillon almost to cover the contents of the casserole. Bring to simmer on top of the stove, cover closely, and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers slowly for 2.5-3 hours. Then meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
Tip casserole and skim out fat. Correct seasoning. (*) May be prepared ahead and reheated, and its good either hot or cold.