Daube Nicoise, is a beef stew, and part of the cultural gastronomy of Nice as much as the pan bagnat and pissaladière. It’s a dish for cooler days, rich, robust and made for sharing. It needs to be cooked slowly and tastes even better when reheated. Like all great dishes that have been around for years, everyone has their own recipe for daube Nicoise. Some people add a glass of Marc de Provence (brandy) or a glass of Cognac – if you’re doing that, either pour in the marinade or add at the meat and onion stage so the alcohol evaporates. Some add salted pork or bacon. And some add olives.
Ingredients for 8 servings of daube Nicoise
2kg beef (4lb) (braising beef such as shin)
3 onions sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic
6 carrots – peeled and cut into rings or lengthwise
500g tomatoes peeled (1lb)
200g mushrooms (6oz) dried porcini mushrooms also work well (soak them first)
bottle of red wine
1 litre beef stock (4 cups)
Salt and pepper
Optional Bouquet garni (herbes de Provence – thyme, rosemary, bayleaf)
Cut the beef into large cubes. If you have time, season and put in a bowl with the red wine and leave to marinade in the fridge for 24 hours. I really recommend this, it makes a big difference.
If not, fry the beef in olive oil until lightly cooked and golden. For the marinaded beef, remove from the wine (set that aside) and fry in the olive oil.
Add the sliced onions and gently brown. Then add the garlic, wine and tomatoes and mix well. Add the beef stock (and bouquet garni if you’re using), and cook in the oven, covered, for three hours at 150ºC (300ºF)/Gas Mark 2. Or in a slow cooker which works really well too.
Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook for a further 45 minutes – to an hour.
Season and serve.
Note: I add a little cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with a little water at the end to thicken the stew.
More robust dishes from France
Easy cassoulet with chicken, sausage and beans
Poulet Gaston Gerard a classic Burgundian dish