So what is a daube? It is a stew of meat, the dictionary says, typically beef, but this recipe of lamb, adapted from a Daniel Boulud recipe is…. quite simply…to die for! I made this recipe once before, for a dinner party that really was the dinner party from hell…but that’s another story. But because of that, it has taken me about five years to make this again. Serving it with LOVE, to people you love, is a whole other story. This Provençal Lamb Daube is not to be missed. With the chilly weather coming on board, it is just the sort of dish you want to sink right into, right now.
Daniel says to serve it with roasted garlic grits, which I did the first time around, but my husband is not a grits fan. Polenta is the traditional choice, which I think would be grand. My husband asked for egg noodles, which seemed to work out just fine. (I passed on them altogether as we have a big family wedding to go to in Boston this coming weekend and I want to look best in my new black dress! Thank goodness for weddings to get us all in shape – right?!)
You don’t brown the meat or caramelize the onions, you just prepare the vegetables (takes about an hour) and layer everything in a big pot (I used my Le Creuset) and throw it in the oven at two different temperatures and voilá, you have one amazing stew to serve that will keep the compliments coming! (I’m thinking this might be the way to go with Boeuf Bourguignonne in the future.) I made this on Saturday while making our dinner for that night and served it tonight – Monday. It was perfect and definitely better to serve it a day or two later. So this makes it ideal for a weeknight dinner party! Whip up a salad and you’re all set. Daniel says that French women would take their pot to the local baker and have it sealed with some bread dough on top and bake the whole thing. Can you imagine how good that was?!
Serve this with a soul-soothing wine. Daniel Johnnes, wine director of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants, suggests a rich, full-bodied wine from the southern French appellation of Bandol. “This Mediterranean region produces lush, earthy wines that pair beautifully with roasts, stews, and grilled meats, especially lamb,” he says. His first choice is the Domaine du Gros’Noré 2005 ($30). “This full-bodied red is made predominantly with the Mourvèdre grape and has a warm, seductive nose of black fruits, spice, and saddle leather,” he explains. “On the palate it is smooth and powerful and has a long creamy finish.” Other Bandols he recommends are Château Pradeaux, Domaine Tempier, and Domaine de la Tour du Bon. We were able to find a 2007 Château Pradeaux Bandol and let me tell you, it was totally delicious and perfect!!
I hope you get a chance to make this with the cold weather coming. I know you will LOVE it!
PROVENÇAL LAMB DAUBE – serves 6 – adapted from Daniel Boulud
2.5 lb. lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbs. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 lb. slab bacon, cut into ½-inch dice, nitrate-free
1 small head of fennel, cut into 8 wedges
3 roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded
½ of an orange, peel on, cut into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
7 small Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut in half
3 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, halved and cut into thick slices
2 celery stalks, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup taggiasche or other small black olives, pitted
1½ cups Burgandy or similar red wine
1 cup beef stock, or low-sodium stock
1 sachet (1 tsp. each fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and coriander seeds wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with butcher’s twine)
1 bouquet garni (3 sprigs basil, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, and 2 sprigs rosemary, tied with butcher’s twine)
Italian parsley, chopped for garnish
Preheat oven to 380°F and place a rack in the center. Season lamb with salt and cayenne pepper. Place one-half of the lamb and the bacon on the bottom of a 5½-quart Dutch oven and top with one-half of the vegetables. Repeat, finishing with vegetables.
Add wine and stock followed by sachet and bouquet garni, being sure to submerge them.
Cover and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 280°F and bake for another 2½ hours. Remove from the oven to rest at least 30 minutes before serving, or cool, refrigerate and serve 2 – 3 days later. Warm gently. Serves 6.