French Fridays with Dorie
I had a lot of fun today writing a particularly snarky French Friday’s with Dorie post about the concept of a needing to have a “Go-To Beef Daube” recipe. (I know. Don’t act so surprised. Me? Snarky?) Its just that the notion that anyone should be required to have a “Go-To Beef Daube” sounded to me as ridiculous as someone being required to have a “Go-To Reine de Saba Torte” or a “Go-To Amalfi Calamari Pasta”. Just how many daube recipes does one run across anyway that we should be required to settle on just one? Well, once I tasted this particular daube the smirk was wiped from my face. Guess what? Amazing. I now have a “Go-To Daube” and it is HER Go-To Daube.
So, what the f*ck is a “daube” you ask? (And when I read the assignment I asked it just like that too.) It turns out that it is just a fancy name for stew. Dorie says that if you braise the meat in wine then that makes it a “daube”. Her own friend, however, seems to cast doubt on this definition by suggesting that the moniker “boeuf-carottes” might be more accurate — but Dor is stickin’ to her guns on this. From the looks of it, if you were to add whole onions, mushrooms and a splash of beef stock you would pretty much have what Julia Child calls for in her famous (and definitive) version of Boeuf Bourguingon. I also know that if you braise the stew in beer you would call it a Carbonnade.
This type of dish is so flexible that you can really call it what you want. (Just don’t call it late for dinner. Ba dam bump. ) Whatever you call it, please do it with confidence and everyone will just go along with it. Remember when fancy restaurants started drizzling coulis on desserts and various other things? Nobody even blinked or suggested that this was really sauce. Its because they did it with confidence. Sort of like when you know you look good in those yellow socks so everyone else sort of leaves you alone and assumes you know what you are doing.
The point being, its all stew; and its all delicious; and its all easy. And there will be as many different versions of whichever name you prefer as there are cooks that make them. (On a side note, I recently met a chef who works as a writer and segment producer for The Food Network and he tells me that if you change three things in a recipe you don’t have to attribute it. Just 3 changes or differences and there is no longer any copyright issues. Did you hear that Cindy McCain?) . I only made one addition to the recipe so I suppose I will still have to credit Dor. Instead of seasoning up the mixture with last and pepper after cooking I instead added a heaping spoonful of some beef demiglass I had on hand. This gave it all the punch I was after and helped balance the wine taste. I suppose this compensated for the lack of a beef stock in the braising liquid, something I was perhaps needlessly concerned with more than likely.
So with so many choices you just need to find a recipe you like so that when you are as lucky as I was and you run across a great sale on chuck at Whole Foods you can nab 3 pounds and make this amazing meal. Yes, you really do need a “Go-To Daube” recipe. If you don’t have one yet, consider Dorie’s. Its among the finest I’ve ever had. Of particular note is how the onions don’t just get flavored by the sauce but how they actually become the sauce. Wow. Heat this one up in a double boiler the next night and discover what I did. Its even better than it was fresh from the pot.
My Go To Beef Daube