I have been cooking this dish ever since I bought the late Keith Floyd‘s book Floyd on France back in the 1980s. Here is a link to all the recipes in the book. I’d urge anyone interested in classic French food to buy this book. Along with Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking it is still one of the essential books on the subject.
It is a really simple dish but incredibly tasty.
500g stewing veal (what butchers used to call “pie veal”)
1 large tin of plum tomatoes, chopped and with the juices from the tin
2 or three crushed cloves of garlic
A handful of black olives
A heaped teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
1 glass of dry white wine (this is not in Floyd’s original recipe, but it works well)
Salt and pepper
You simply heat the oil in a sauté pan and fry the veal and garlic, add the wine and let it bubble a bit. Then add the chopped plum tomatoes and their juice, season and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about an hour and a half. If the sauce is too reduced, add some hot water.
Towards the end of the cooking time, add the olives and rosemary.
Serve with rice or pasta, garnished with some chopped parsley.
A basic fruity red wine from the Rhône works best, chilled if the weather is hot. A robust rosé would also work well.
This is so simple but is typical of the kind of traditional Provençal recipes that seem to be disappearing from restaurants nowadays. It has obvious affinities with Italian cooking, which is hardly surprising.
You can vary the ingredients in this dish, maybe using basil instead of rosemary, or herbes de Provence added at the beginning of the cooking time. You could also add capers with the olives, or instead of them, or maybe melt a couple of anchovy fillets with the meat when you are doing the initial frying. Some chopped lemon zest is also nice added towards the end of the cooking time. You can even make it with lamb instead of veal.
It is the kind of basic daube that everyone should have in their repertoire.