I was so enamored with Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse I decided to make the Boeuf en Daube featured in it. Fantastic! Funny thing is, the protagonist Mrs. Ramsey is rather concerned her dinner will fall to ruin because the children are late to the table—but the dish is really best when refrigerated overnight, re-heated over a low flame and served at leisure. Similar to Boeuf alla Bourguignon (from Burgundy, 'natch), this preparation of beef is from the Provence/Languedoc region in the South of France.
“Mrs. Ramsay...peered into the dish, with its shiny walls and its confusion of savoury brown and yellow meats, and its bay leaves and its wine, and thought, This will celebrate the occasion...”
Or any occasion you like!
Adapted from goodfoodstories.com
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 cloves garlic, minced and divided
4 slices bacon, chopped into lardons
1 small red onion, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
3 ounces (85 grams) shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 ounces (57 grams) roughly chopped pitted olives of your choice
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine + additional wine as needed
1/2 cup beef broth or water
1/4 cup brandy
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
10 sprigs parsley
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
cooked egg noodles and/or crusty bread and butter for serving (optional)
Place the beef, olive oil, and half the minced garlic in a
sealable gallon-size plastic bag. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes
to an hour (or overnight in the refrigerator).
While the beef is marinating, you can prep your veg.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven, cook
the bacon over medium heat until crispy.
Spoon out the bacon and reserve, but leave the fat in the
In batches, add the marinated beef to the pan and cook for
about five minutes, turning the meat so all sides are browned but not burning
Transfer the cooked beef and garlic to a bowl.
Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, olives, capers, and
remaining garlic to the Dutch oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently,
until the vegetables are soft.
Add the tomatoes, wine, broth, and brandy to the Dutch oven
and bring to a simmer, scraping up all the yummy browned bits.
Return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven.
Add the thyme, bay, parsley, and peppercorns to the Dutch
oven. If you don’t like them floating around in there, you can make a bouquet
garni by wrapping them in cheesecloth (or a coffee filter or empty tea bag),
tying it closed with butcher’s twine.
Cook in the oven for 3 hours, until the beef is so tender
you can pull it apart into shreds with a fork.
If you find your stew doesn’t have enough liquid once it’s
done, add a bit more wine; if you have too much liquid, thicken it with a
teaspoon of cornstarch that’s been whisked with a little water to make a