In honour of Le Tour we had a French theme this weekend and just like I had to wait for Noel to come to bed - it was the deciding phase you know... for this delicious beef stew, you will have to wait. But with planning and patience you are assured a hearty but delicate dinner that warms you to the very cockles of your heart. After living in France, I love the way the French eat, I've never mastered the French sized portion - everything is way too delicious, but I think they have it right - they eat a variety of seasonal foods each day and they don't avoid certain foods because they are "bad". French meals are often a celebration of family and friends, made with love but they can also a time for reflection over bread, cheese and a green salad. so on Sunday we added a little French to our lifes... Early on there was some huffing and eye rolling (post Tour blues?), as the French do best, but later an afternoon nap, a glass of wine, and Boef en Dabue followed by Chocolate Mousse it was almost like being in a chateau in Burgandy. You can do almost anything you want with this recipe, as long as you cook it slowly. Enjoy x
1.5 kg prime beef - cubed and trimmed of fat - I used an oyster blade roast
8 baby onions - peeled and halved
3 garlic cloves - chopped finely
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
500ml ml Burgundy wine
250 g lardons, Smoked Bacon pieces - I used traditional bacon pieces from the deli at Coles
100 g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 1 hr
Zest of 2 oranges
2 tsp soft brown sugar
fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs cornflour, for thickening
1 tbs brandy
Marinade the beef with the thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, baby onions and garlic overnight in the red wine.
The next day drain the beef and herbs and reserve the wine. Heat a large frying pan and brown the beef, baby onions and garlic over a high heat in the olive oil until nutty & brown. Do not overcrowd the pan - I did it in 3 batches! Place browned beef baby onions and garlic into the crock pot.
Fry the lardons or chopped bacon pieces until crispy and add to the beef. Add all the other ingredients, except the cornflour, to the crock pot including the reserved wine. Cook on low for 6 hours. Towards the end, mix the cornflour with a couple of spoons of the stock from the crock pot and add to the beef, stirring well. It should not be TOO thick but just like a glaze or thickened jus. Add the cognac at this stage as well - stirring into the daube. Allow to sit on warm until you are ready to serve.
I served the daube on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes with steamed beans and brussel sprouts tossed in butter with a little pancetta. We drank Old Money 2013 Cab Sauv from the Coonawarra which was big enough to sit alongside a big french stew without stealing the limelight. I'm not a great lover of a Cab Sauv but this one suited me perfectly... more berry than oak.
Tonight I'm going to freeze the leftovers and save them for a rainy day when I need some french love - isn't that every day ma cherie? X