Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

“French Fridays with Dorie”; Recipe Sans Haiku

Beef Chuck Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

“Daube” is just one of those words used to title braised foods (usually beef) to give them an international sounding panache.   “Panache” is one of those words you can use when describing things that have that little-something-extra stylish flourish.   (Remember what we called it when we added a little-something-extra to a glass of beer?)

You can skip the coursework at The Culinary Institute or even Le Cordon Bleu.  Save your money and just commit several of these words to memory so you can use them generously, forgoing their more pedestrian counterparts.. There.  Now you are classically trained.  Why make “stew” when you can serve your family a hearty Beef Daube?  You only have frozen chicken in freezer?  Make chicken stew, um, no, call it Tagine instead.  Gosh, did you chop up some young spring vegetables to throw in there?  If so you can call it Printanier start calling around for your cookbook deal.

This skill is particularly handy if you are learning to bake desserts — as I am.  Did that chocolate cake turn out a tad unrisen and flat?  Then, do what I do! Call it a gâteau chocolat or even better, slap on some almonds, mutter something to your guests at the table about Julia Child and present them with a Reine de Saba.  

Isn’t it fun being a chef?

Beef Chuck Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

Beef Chuck Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

This week’s French Friday with Dorie recipe even calls for elbow macaroni!  Yikes. This puts us dangerously close to Dinty Moore-land if you ask me.  So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Dorie knows exactly what to do!  Her instincts are unquestionable after all.  Use of Daube will even make you forget that the main ingredient here is a part of the cow usually thrown out or sold to Swansons.

Now having said all this, no matter what you call delightful goulash, it is nothing like Mr. Moore’s version.  This one has panache.  It calls for beef cheek which, if you are like the other Doristas, you will have a terrible time finding.  That might just might be a good thing in this case as even a word like daube may not have enough super-powers to challenge the bias your family if they have an aversion to animal parts making their way into food. (Perhaps all those swanky French Bistros Dorie talks about are buying up the entire global beef cheek supply?)

Cheeks are tough and lean cuts of cow and are therefore really only edible if you braise them. Substituting a good chuck will still get you to heaven and yield the fat required to give up a very gelatinous sauce for this mélange. 

But to my taste-buds, its not the cheek that gives this stufato,  its panache, that je ne sais quoi, that makes it different from say, any other daube you might, um, go to.  Its chocolate!  The recipe calls for a scant 3/4 ounce of semisweet chocolate mixed in after the braising is over.  This is not enough to register Nestle on your taste-buds but it is enough to offer up a slightly less polished, earthy note to the dish that isn’t really seasoned with anything else aside from salt and pepper.

Stew on that.

And while you do, stew on this:  I have been given a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” to give to one very lucky Sis Boom Blog reader as part of a larger giveaway promotion coming soon.  So, stay tuned for details — but I can tell you this, to be eligible for this free copy you will need to be signed up for email delivery of this blog or be a follower of it on Blogger.  So, the ten of you who are reading this post in its email format are already signed up!  With those kind of odds you will want to join them!   Sign up for the email version of this blog by entering your email address in the box on the left sidebar or by clicking this link.

Contest extended to 1/3/2013!  Contest is now closed.  See this page for the winner announcement.

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Beef Chuck Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

Beef Chuck Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

adapted from Dorie Greenspan’sAround My French Table” (original recipe here.)

This is what you will need:

  • 2 lbs. chuck, excess fat removed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into thick rounds
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 strips bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon or other hearty red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped.
  • chopped parsley for garnish

This is how you make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and put the rack toward the lower third of the oven so you can accommodate a Dutch oven with its cover on.
  2. Cut the chuck into 4 pieces.
  3. If you wish smaller portions to serve it is best to break apart the pieces after the braising is completed.
  4. Put the Dutch oven on the stove and heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over high heat.
  5. When ready, add the beef and let it simmer for 3 minutes or until it turns a nice brown color.
  6. Turn the meat and cook the other side to a similar point.
  7. Remove the meat to a plate and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour out the excess oil and liquids and add the remaining oil to the Dutch oven.
  9. When hot, add the carrots, onions (chopped and pearl), and the bacon.
  10. Stir frequently over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
  11. Add flour and stir for about two minutes to cook the flour and absorb the liquids and coat the vegetables.
  12. It will also coat the bottom of the pan and this is just fine.
  13. Pour in the water to lift the flower and loosen any flavorful browned bits that are stuck on the bottom.
  14. Raise heat to cook out the water and then pour in the wine and the broth and stir.
  15. Return the beef to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
  16. Bring braising liquid to a boil for a minute or two before covering the Dutch oven tightly and placing into the oven for 2 hours or until fork tender.
  17. Do not disturb while cooking.
  18. The daube can be made to this point and then cooled and refrigerated.
  19. This allows for the flavors to develop and blend.
  20. Either way, you will want to bring the daube back to medium heat and a gentle simmer before finishing it up.
  21. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions for al dente. Just short of done.
  22. Drain, and add to the daube, mixing in gently so as not to break up the lovely chunks of meat or mash the carrots.
  23. Gently stir in the chocolate and encourage it to melt and mix in evenly with more gentle movements with the wooden spoon.
  24. Serve in dishes sprinkled lightly with the parsley

“Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni” was this week’s assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”.   Generally we are discouraged from including the recipes in our posts.  Wherever there has been significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers I will either include it here or provide a direct link below the recipe title. Please also feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding French Friday with Dorie Recipes.


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don’t know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]” means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small ‘boom’ in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a “food blog” or even myself a “food blogger”.

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  1. I really feel that you have your pulse on the Dorista zeitgeist with this post. It has real elan if you ask me. There’s a certain je ne sais quois at work here that causes me to prick up my ears and take notice … Of course I am filled with Schadenfreude at the trials and tribulations of those who went on a vain quest for beef cheek, but then I am a real harpy. I don’t know that everyone can appreciate your wit and snark, but … a chacun son gout, eh?

  2. I don’t need the book, since I already have it, but I just wanted to say that I watched a steer get processed for delivery to the butcher a week ago. It took some pretty deft knife skills to get the cheeks out, and there was some left on the skull when the abattoir was done. Guess I should have grabbed some!
    (BTW, abattoir is the panachey way of saying the guy who calls a steer with a bucket of grain, and while that steer is happily nomming away, turns the steer into a wonderful piece of fresh hanging beef.)
    A good Dorista would have done that…

    • Dear Anon, I will hope then that should you win the book you give it to someone in need. . . or better yet, ask them to come up and sign up for their own chance at winning!

      Last year I had a mind to find a butchery class so I could learn how to butcher and get better acquainted with meat. I couldn’t find one. Sadly. But I do think that if there were to be such a thing as graduation from Doristahood, it would involve abattoirery.

  3. This overseas Dorista did indeed find the elusive beef cheeks, I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to surprise my butcher with a request. But I’m afraid that they were lost on my since I’m not such a huge beef stew fan. My husband loved it though and I loved the sauce and pasta, so all’s well that ends well.

  4. I adore your writing style – it cheers me up to no end! Another thing I adore is that beautiful daube you’ve got going on. Lovely presentation!

  5. well, you certainly captured the daube in a great light! Love your photography as always and almost a little stunned at the lack of haiku… LOL!! Looks like you really enjoyed this one in a cheeky sort of way…

  6. Cheek, chuck, cheers to it all! Loving your outlook on cooking explorations… I need to get more French into my vocabulary no doubt. Keep up the good stuff, Trevor!

  7. I am not sure I can forgive you for the Dinty Moore reminder. It brings back disturbing memories of a life gone by.

    Le sigh…

  8. I miss the haiku, but the witty French lesson was a reasonable tradeoff. I like how you served (or styled) this in individual ramekins. Looks worthy of a bistro.

  9. If only Swanson made it this good… Yours is quite lovely.

  10. I agree with Sara…I always love reading your posts! You have a unique way of seeing things! I always leave your blog smiling! Your presentation is gorgeous…with great photos! Have a great weekend, Trevor!!

    • Thanks for the props Kathy. Honestly I cringe when these stew things come up as they are just so difficult to make pretty…despite the fact that they always taste so beautiful.

  11. Hi Trevor. I loved, loved this post…had a couple of good laughs. I could never put anything into my mouth that grew near a cows mouth…just unthinkable. I’m not up for an adventure when it comes to uncommon-to-me meats…I think cheeks are some of what goes into hot dogs? But the label does not say cheeks so I can eat them. Great post and also great photos. Well done.

  12. Although I understood the meaning of all these saucy words-that-provide-flourish, I don’t use them enough. Try as I may, this American is rather plain and simple with her post reports. Thank you for suggesting we all might crank it up a notch or two, become more frenchified if need be. (And, that’s a topic all to itself and for another day.) Your elbows took on a nicer brown color than my elbows. Still I liked throwing everything together at the end, despite the macaroni color. I doubled the bittersweet content! it was a delicious daube – I like daubes – and I will make it again.

  13. What fantastic little ramekins of your stew! I think a lot people had trouble getting their hands on the cheeks. Ha!

  14. Dear Trevor, you wished for a Greek word and your wish has been granted! I believe this daube was a “panacea” (not panache) for all types of cold weather induced ailments. A few bites of the succulent, wine soaked, tender beef (cheek or no cheek)can bring anyone back to life! 🙂 🙂

  15. I could hug you for this. I bought beef cheeks at the butcher today and I was trying to decide how to prepare them. I wanted something different. Job done for tomorrow! thanks.

  16. Oh Trevor, you make me smile. First of all, I love your new holiday header – very festive! Second of all, your mention of Dinty Moore stew reminded me of this video
    which should give you a nice little laugh this Sunday morning. Your daube looks beautiful!

  17. No haiku???
    In any case, LOVELY presentation in those individual ramekins – I’m SO stealing that next time!

  18. “I’m glad you didn’t put chocolate in, it was sweet enough!”…my 9 yo daughter hanging over my shoulder while I read your lovely post. OOPS! And it was still good, but now I’ll have to try it again, since I didn’t even follow the rules. Sheesh.

  19. Your daube looks professionally done-enjoyed reading your post and love your holiday look;-)

  20. Enjoyed reading your post but your photo really does look professional!

  21. Trevor, I like the Christmas look! And, your photo should be in the book – it makes the recipe look so much better than it sounds.

    I hadn’t meant to be MIA from FFWD for so long, but have been incredibly distracted by other things. We went to NY & RI for a week, then returned to find out our beloved cat has bone cancer. We’ve finally decided to proceed with amputation which is scheduled for next Friday.

    I don’t like it when people pour out their problems on cooking blogs, so won’t be doing that but I wanted you to know what’s going on. On a positive note, Kris is back from her blogging hiatus!

  22. Trevor, thanks for another entertaining post…your comment section is more amusing than most blogs. I’d love to have an unsplattered copy of AMFT…so besides already following you on Twitter and Blogger, I added you on Instagram plus subscribed by email. Happy New Year!

    PS…that sure doesn’t look like Dinty Moore!

  23. Nope, definitely sdulohn’t be spongy inside, sounds like you got a bad one. I have no idea if there is something specific one should look for when picking out celery root, maybe I’ve just been lucky so far.