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.
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
- Cut the beef chuck into 12 large chunks, roughly the same size.
- 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.
- Brown the beef chunks in the rendered fat in 2 – 3 batches until well browned.
- Deglaze with the white wine.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ladle the stew into deep soup bowls and serve with a buttered pasta garnished with freshly chopped rosemary.
- 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.