Our thoughts of Valentine foods trend naturally to rich decadent chocolate, rose kissed tea cakes, luscious red velvet cake with snowy frosting. But as fun as the concept of “eat dessert first” is, it doesn’t really hold up for an elegant dinner.
So to warm, nourish, and most importantly, delight you, make a rich beef dish we call Daube de Boeuf Provençal… your star of the Valentine’s Dinner. Here we share our recipe with you along with our wishes of warmth and love.
– The Kitchen’s Bounty
Daube de Boeuf Provençal
- 2 strips of orange zest, each about 2 1/2 inches long and ½-inch wide
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 medium stalk celery, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, top leaves reserved
- 3 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 8 oz. porcini mushrooms
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 3 lbs beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 8 ounces lean bacon slices, chopped into 1-inch lengths
- 1 bottle full-bodied red wine
- 1/4 cup Cognac
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 cup Nicoise olives
- Salt to taste
Place the orange zest, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, cloves, and celery leaves onto a single layer of cheesecloth. Tie the cheesecloth up to make a bouquet garni, and set it aside.
Gently toss together the celery, onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, beef, bacon, and bouquet garni in a large, non-reactive dish. Pour the wine and Cognac over the mixture and refrigerate it for 12 to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Remove the beef from the vegetables – reserving the vegetable mixture – and allow it to drain onto clean kitchen towels. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the beef with the flour and brown it in the hot oil. Remove the beef from the skillet and deglaze the pan with the beef stock and tomato paste, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Combine the beef, pan sauce, olives, salt, and the vegetable-wine mixture in a large ovenproof dish and cover. Braise the beef for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beef is tender. Check to see if there is too much liquid in the pan about 2 hours into the cooking time. If you want a thicker stew, remove the lid for the remainder of the cooking time.
Serve over your choice of mashed potatos, wide egg noodles, or white rice and garnish with chopped parsley or thyme.