A simple daube de boeuf

With a niçoise quality from the black olives.

This is a stripped back version of the classic daube that Elizabeth David wrote about in her French Provincial Cooking, one of the books that I always return to. It is an essential part of anyone’s cookery library, I think.

I’ve cooked these beef and red wine dishes for decades and once you know what you are doing, you really don’t need a recipe.

This one uses;

A chopped onion
3 crushed garlic cloves
Some bacon or pancetta lardons (I used pancetta)
Cubed skirt steak
A tin of chopped tomatoes
A quarter of a bottle of rich red wine
Black olives
Bay leaves
Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Fresh basil
Chopped parsley

All you do is sauté the pancetta in the hot oil, then add the onion and garlic and cook until these soften without taking too much colour.

Then add the meat and stir well as it loses its redness and then add the herbs, seasonings and wine and cook, making sure that the wine deglazes then pan.

Then add the tomatoes and simmer until the meat is cooked.

Before serving, add the olives and some torn basil leaves and let this cook for a few minutes longer.

Serve with pasta or rice (I used macaroni), garnished with chopped parsley.

To drink with this, you really need a medium to full-bodied Rhône red, maybe a Côtes du Rhône Villages or a Crozes Hermitage. We chose a Côtes du Rhône Villages from Vinsobres, a Diamant Noir 2006 which I have written about before. This is an excellent rich and spicy wine, with loads of berry fruits and a lovely long finish.

We bought some last Summer and we shall return this year and buy some more.

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