We’ve made good progress through our freezer full of cow, but there were a few packages of stew beef crying out (figuratively speaking) to be used. Jon decided to pull out an old recipe that we hadn’t done in ages, a slow-cooked beef daube with black pepper, orange peel and shiitake mushrooms. He did all the work, and all I did was buy the bread to go with. Oh, and I made sheets of pasta to wrap around the leftovers to make cannelloni.
The daube is not one of those spur of the moment meals. Jon got the meat marinating three days ahead of time, with wine and vegetables. He braised it the second day, and we ate it on the third.
It tastes a whole lot better than it looks (I know, it looks like cat food. C’est la vie.) The individual flavors meld into a dark, complex meatiness. We accompanied it with Breadfarm farmer bread and a spinach salad.
In honor of all Jon’s hard work making the daube, we hauled out the bottle of wine I got him for his birthday – a cabernet franc from Cougar Crest winery. This is some kick-ass stuff, redolent with butterscotch and dark fruit. Wowie.
Peppery Beef Daube with Shiitakes
adapted from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 strip of orange peel
- 1/2 bottle fruity red wine
- 2 Tbsp minced salt pork
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms, broken up if large, rinsed
Halve the onion and set one piece aside. Cut the remaining piece in half again and roughly chop the carrots. Put the two onion quarters and the carrots into a bowl along with the herbs, orange peel, and half the salt, pepper and garlic. Pour the wine over, mix, cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours).
Put the salt pork in a heavy pan and cook until the fat is rendered out. Discard the crisp bits (or, it seems to me, eat them). Chop the reserved onion and garlic, and saute in the pork fat. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Drain the meat, reserving the marinade, and pat dry. Saute the meat in batches in the pork fat, then set aside.
Add the flour to the pan and cook, stirring, until it browns. Pour in the marinade and deglaze the pan, then add the meat, vegetables, the remaining salt and pepper, water and mushrooms. Bring almost to a boil, cover and set to a low simmer. Cook 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the meat is completely tender. Discard the herbs, orange peel and carrots (we left the carrots in, but it might be better without). You can serve right away, or refrigerate the daube overnight and serve the next day.
Good with pasta, polenta or bread.