Autumn Main Dishes Recipes Spring Winter

Hearty French Farmhouse Beef Stew
with Bay Leaf and Rosemary

July 11, 2022

This is a classic French country stew known as a Daube. It’s a wonderful example of how low, slow cooking turns tougher cuts of meat into a soft, tender and very flavourful dish. Perfect for the cooler months.


(Serves 6)

1.2 kg Beef Chuck

2 tbsp olive oil

250 g speck, bacon or pancetta, cut into 2cm pieces

500 ml white wine

500 ml beef stock or water

1 onion, peeled & cut into quarters

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

1 tbsp rosemary, roughly chopped

6 lrg sprigs fresh thyme, tied into a bundle with cotton string

2 – 3 strips orange peel (use a vegetable peeler or small knife)

2 carrots, peeled & cut into large chunks

3 celery sticks, cut into 5cm lengths

1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes

Salt & freshly cracked black pepper

Fresh rosemary, chopped, to garnish


  1. Cut the beef chuck into 12 large chunks, roughly the same size.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based (cast-iron is best) braising pot and fry the speck until a little browned and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve to the side.
  3. Brown the beef chunks in the rendered fat in 2 – 3 batches until well browned.
  4. Deglaze with the white wine.
  5. Transfer the speck, meat, onion, garlic, herbs, orange peel, carrots, celery and tomato to the pot and cover with the stock or water. Lightly season.
  6. Bring to a gentle simmer and then reduce the heat until a very low, gentle simmer and continue to cook with the lid on for 3 hours until the meat is completely tender. Taste for seasoning.
  7. Ladle the stew into deep soup bowls and serve with a buttered pasta garnished with freshly chopped rosemary.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes instead of buttered pasta.
  • Adapt to a Slow Cooker for a delicious set-and-forget meal in advance.
  • Turn any leftovers into a pot pie filling by straining off most of the broth, shredding the meat and cutting the vegetables into smaller pieces. Place in an oven-proof round baking dish and cover with a puff pastry lid. Glaze with an eggwash and bake in a 200˚c oven for 30 minutes.

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