Provençal beef daube

Long slow cooking gives succulent results in Alex MacKay's sensational recipe for traditional Provençal beef daube
By Alex Mackay
Provençal beef daube
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes plus 20 mins to marinate beef
  • Effort: easy



  • 1 kg shin beef, or cheek of beef, each 80g
  • 1 bottles robust red wine
  • 50 ml groundnut oil
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 30 g butter
  • 16 large shallots, peeled
  • 8 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 oranges, zest, removed with a peeler
  • 1 tsp sugar, to taste

To serve

  • 2 oranges, zest, removed with a zester
  • 20 black olives, stoned and halved
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp thyme, leaves only


1. Put the chunks of beef into a bowl or container that just holds them. Reduce the wine by two thirds as quickly as possible and pour over the beef. The hot wine will penetrate the beef more quickly and completely than when cold. Cover and leave the beef to marinate for 20 minutes or so, turning it occasionally. 2. Set the oven to 150°C/gas 2. 3. Pour the beef and marinade into a colander over a bowl and press well to extract all of the wine. Reserve the wine and dry the pieces of beef well on kitchen paper.4. Heat the groundnut oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Season the beef with salt then fry in a single layer for five minutes. 5. Add the butter then caramelise slowly for a further five or so minutes, taking care that the butter doesn't burn and turning the beef occasionally so that it colours evenly. 6. Pour off half of the fat and add the shallots and garlic. Add the tomato paste and cook over a high heat for about two minutes until they are well browned. 7. Stir in the flour and pour in the red wine marinade along with just enough water to cover the beef. 8. Bring to the boil and skim. 9. Add the bouquet garni and the orange peel. Place into the oven and braise for three and a half hours, making absolutely sure that the liquid never boils. Check the meat, it should be is tender, still moist, and flaky enough to eat with a spoon. If not, just leave it to cook for a while longer, be confident, it will happen.10. Remove the beef from the oven, and discard the bouquet garni and orange zest. 11. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beef, shallots and garlic to a tray. Strain the cooking juices through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Reduce over a high heat by about one third until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. 12. Return the shallots and garlic to the pan. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a little sugar to balance the wine. 13. Sprinkle over the orange zest, olives, diced tomatoes and thyme. Serve with mashed potato or pasta.

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