If you are going to be stuck in the house for the next couple of days due to snow, ice, or sleet you may as well plan ahead and do this recipe. Start one day and pop on the stove and let it cook the next. Rewards galore and comforting to boot while you watch the Olympics…do it!! It’s that good.
If you need a refresher on Provencal cooking take a peek at my post on that cooking region. Have this with rice, pasta and parmesan or buttered noodles with a side of nicoise olives, gherkins and glass of red wine. Simply Maaarvelous.
Provençal Beef Stew (Estoufade Provençale) by Bistro Cooking~ Patricia Wells. Credit Bistro -La Mère Besson located in Cannes. 8 Servings
2 1/2 pounds stewing beef or chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 celery rib, minced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bottle red wine, preferably Provencal
1 bunch of fresh thyme
3 imported bay leaves (regular is fine)
1 strip of orange zest, chopped
1. The day before serving the stew, (the recipe says two, but I found 1 day to be sufficient if prepared early in the morning), combine all the ingredients except the orange zest, in a large enameled casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day, bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat (remember French cooking tip #6 on my Tricks to French Cooking post). Simmer gently, until the meat is very tender, 3-4 hours.
3. Allow the stew to cool down (it was a cold day and I put it on my deck to make it cool down faster). Refrigerate until the fat rises to the top and can be easily scraped off with a small spoon about 12 hours ( I did this process a lot faster due to it being so cold outside).
4. At serving time, scrape off any additional fat. Reheat until the meat is heated through, 10-15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. To serve, remove the bay leaves, and thyme, stir in orange zest ( I omitted the orange zest- I did not particularly want that, but that is a definite French thing to do- keep the orange).
Be safe out there and stay warm!