Daube Provençal a.k.a South of France Beef Stew


How’s that for a comeback? I’ve been gone from this blogging world for well over two months now (eek!), but I figured this comforting deliciousness is as good a reason as any to return. I may have lost my readers, but I’m gaining a recipe.  This needs to be recorded before I forget what I did.

So here I am. And here it is.

But first, une petite histoire

Paris, 2006. Norma, Helen, my mom, myself. Chez Agnès. We go for dinner, sent by our guru, Rick Steves. Tiny bistro, one woman cooking, serving, hostessing, you get the idea, and her dog. “Asseyez-vous” (Sit there). Intimidated, I beg myself, please don’t let my french fail me now. Agnès does not allow us to order a Côte du Rhone. “Non, le Bordeaux.” Bordeaux it is. We order, we wait, I speak hesitant French.  Enter young American couple. Agnès, impatient (well, she is alone there), shouts across the room to me, “you, who speaks French, tell him this daube has been cooking since noon!”

And with that, we are in. We are the last to leave, she and her Corsican neighbor (le terreuriste she lovingly calls him) join us for wine and laughs. She bids us adieu with small tins of foie gras. One of the top five magical evenings of my life was the result of translating a statement about this beef stew.

I have no idea if Agnès and her pooch are still there.

But like I said, here I am and here it is.  Maybe it’ll warm you.


Adapted from Melissa D’Arabian and Joanne Harris’ My French Kitchen.  Serves 6.

  • two pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 inch pieces (fat removed)
  • 4 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 (or so) carrots, cut into thick slices
  • 2 cups Côtes du Rhône wine (any good red wine)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 package cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (or dried thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • handful chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • a few glugs olive oil

1. The night before, marinate the beef pieces, one of the sliced onions and half of the carrots in the wine, vinegar, and bay leaves.

2. The next day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and pat the beef pieces dry, reserving the marinade and vegetables.  Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over a medium flame and brown the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove to a plate and brown the meat in batches a couple of minutes per side.  Remove to a plate, add more olive oil as needed and repeat.

3. Once beef is browned, add the reserved marinade mixture to the pot, along with the beef, bacon, the remaining onion, smashed garlic and herbes de Provence or thyme.  Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add a couple of cups or so of water but do not to submerge the beef completely, rather make sure the liquid comes about 2/3 up the beef.  Add the orange zest, nestle the rosemary sprigs in the liquid, cover and place in the oven.

4. Check the liquid level after an hour to make sure not too much has evaporated.  Add water as needed.

5. After another hour, add the tomatoes, mushrooms, and the rest of the carrots. Sprinkle with the flour and mix in.

6. Return to oven for another hour or so.

7. Remove from oven, skim fat from top and add chopped parsley. Serve with Melissa’s macaronade, which I think definitely benefits from the doubling of cheese.


This may or may not be summer, as opposed to winter, in Provence.  Okay, it is.

About Liza M.

foodie, francophile, Ann Arborite, teacher, bookworm and self-professed latte-lover--come cook with me!
This entry was posted in Main dishes, provencal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Daube Provençal a.k.a South of France Beef Stew

  1. Wendy says:

    What a great memory from France, I’m happy to say I got to eat there once. Looks like a perfect meal for this blustery, cold winter.

  2. Helene Brohl says:

    What a delightful memory. Agnes was a highlite of my trip. I remember her making us feel so at home that I asked if I could help clean up and wash dishes.


  3. Barbara says:

    I’m ready to go . . . Give me half an hour to pack and I’ll meet you at the airport

  4. Michel says:

    Looks delicious. Your evening at Chez Agnes are the source of life long memories. I hope she is still there so I can go some day soon. Happy belated New Year.

    • Liza M. says:

      Bonne Annèe to you too Michel. Speaking of restaurants, I’ve been following the Bistro on FB and kicking myself that I can’t just come by anytime! Eating at our place was the highlight of our trip last summer.

  5. La Torontoise says:

    Liza, happy belated New Year! Much health and prosperity in 2014!
    I was in Cannes and I had a macaron discovery tour:-)
    Noticed your absence from the blog, and yes this recipe is a wonderful reason to return. I love daube but never cooked it myself. Will give it a try.I have cote du rhone in my wine fridge:-)
    Look forward to the weekend!
    Have a great week!

    • Liza M. says:

      Cannes sounds lovely right about now since its about -10 here. brrrrr! Life just got super busy and I had to take a break but once I made this stew, I knew I had to post it. Hope you like it!

      Sent from my iPad

  6. I love these type of stews. Will have to make it!!

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