On this cold snowy January day, I’m dreaming of the south of France in all of its colorful glory. A favorite town of mine is Arles, with its charming markets, the ancient Roman amphitheater used for bull-fighting, fragrant lavendar and sage packets, cerulean and gold tablecloths, the deep blue sky Van Gogh loved to paint. SIGH. What I would give to be there. But since I can’t and chances are neither can you, I leave you with a favorite winter provençale dish–Julia Child’s succulent beef stew.
DAUBE de BEOUF à la PROVENÇALE
2 Tab olive oil
1 1/2 cups dry vermouth
1/4 cup brandy or 1/4 cup gin
2 ts salt
1/4 ts pepper
1/2 ts thyme or 1/2 ts sage
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 cups thinly sliced onions
3 lbs chuck steaks, cut in 2 ½ x 2 ½ x 1 inch squares
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups firm ripe tomatoes, peeled,seeded,and chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
beef bouillon, if necessary
2 cloves garlic
3 Tab capers
3 Tab Dijon mustard
3 Tab olive oil
1/2 cup minced fresh basil or 1/2 cup
- Mix olive oil through onions and marinate steak in refrigerator at least 6 hours, basting and turning meat several times.
- Scrape marinade off meat and reserve.
- Season meat lightly with salt and pepper; roll in flour and set aside on waxed paper.
- In a bowl toss marinade with tomatoes and mushrooms.
- Place 1/3 of mixed vegetables in bottom of 6 quart flame-proof casserole. Alternate layers of meat and vegetables, ending with vegetables. Pour in any left-over marinade.
- Cover, set over moderate heat and simmer 15 minutes.
- If vegetables have not rendered enough liquid to almost cover meat, add a little bouillon.
- Cover and simmer 1½-2 hours until meat is tender when pierced.
- Tip casserole, trim out fat and taste for seasoning. If liquid has not reduced and thickened, drain out into a saucepan and thicken with 1 Tbs cornstarch mixed with bouillon, boil 2 minutes, then pour into casserole.
- Chop or purée garlic and mash with capers.
- Beat in mustard.
- Gradually beat in olive oil to make a thick sauce. Stir in basil or parsley just before serving.