On Unpreparedness & Beef Daube


It’s going to be Christmas in a couple of days, and I’m way behind in cooking for the long weekend in Michigan. I’m usually pretty organized about traveling and have my cooler packed with safe, gluten-free food ready. This year, I’m throwing a bit of caution to the wind, and packing a little lighter because I’m just not ready for the holidays. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Not a single cookie has been baked, and I still don’t know what I’m bringing to the big family potluck on Christmas Eve. And even though most of the family just bring trays of crap from Sam’s Club (yes, folks, store-bought trays are crap, and not worthy of the spirit of a potluck party)…I’m a foodie, and I’ve got a reputation to protect as the one who always brings the “weird” food. And while I won’t be bringing this delicious beef daube, I sure wish I were – a warm bowl of rich stew sounds like a fine dish to pass to me.

This is the perfect dish for a slow simmer in a crock pot, but guess what – I don’t have one. I know – it’s shocking, and I assure you that this culinary emergency is being addressed this holiday season. So consider my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions to be 1. learn to use a crock pot and 2. run the Chicago Marathon. I think I’ll have #1 in the bag. And #2 – well, you will likely be begging me to stop talking about running come October.

In the meantime, between learning to slow-cook and irritating you to death with my complaints of sore muscles and long runs, I give you Beef Daube. I first heard of the dish several years ago when listening to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential on audio. He hailed beef daube as the kind of humble dish that cooks crave when they finish a long day on the line. I had no idea what beef daube was and stuck it in the back of my mind to investigate the matter later. I finally got around to making it last week, and can now say that Tony’s right. If I’d been working hard all day on my feet, tucking into a bowl of this stew would be very fine, indeed. And the leftovers – magical. Make this one a day ahead of time, and know that the extra day in the fridge will make this stew even better.

Inspire me! What are you cooking for the holidays? Share in the comments below…

Garlicky Beef Daube
from How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman
Serves 4-5

8 cloves garlic, divided, minced
3lb beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat & cut into 1 ½” cubes
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ¼” rounds
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 T oil
1 cup red wine
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 bay leaf
minced parsley for garnish

  1. Peel & mince 6 cloves of the garlic. Put them in a dutch oven large enough to fit the meat and marinade. Add all the ingredients except for the 2 remaining cloves of garlic & parsley and gently stir to coat the meat in the marinade. Refrigerate overnight, stirring a couple of times to turn the meat.
  2. When ready to cook, put the dutch oven on a burner over medium heat. Add 1 T oil to the pot and brown the meat in batches, so as not to crowd the pot. Add the vegetables to the pot along with the browned meat and cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the meat is tender – 1-1 ½ hours. (You can make the daube a day ahead at this point, and store the cooked stew overnight to let the flavors deepen). If you’ve made the daube in advance, reheat gently. If you need to thicken the gravy a bit more, remove the meat, then simmer to reduce the gravy to desired thickness.
  3. When the daube is nearly ready to serve, add the 2 remaining cloves of minced garlic & a handful of minced parsley, cook for 5 more minutes, then serve over rice, noodles or potatoes.

5 thoughts on “On Unpreparedness & Beef Daube

  1. I just got Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook for Christmas and my first recipe I’m making on Saturday is beef daube. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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