Saturday, September 24, 2016

Daube – A Traditional Provencal Stew. Now on Menus all Over France.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Daube de boeuf
Originally daubs were only made with beef, lamb or goat with the meat marinated overnight in herbs, garlic, vegetables, pork rinds, tomatoes and red wine.  Then, the next day, with the addition of more red wine a daube would be slowly braised until ready. Now daubs come with a far wider range of ingredients and recipes that include fish, shellfish and white wine.

Successful local recipes in France, including many from Provence, have often become popular throughout France and daubes are no exception. Today’s daubes or similar stews under that name are an excellent example. Most daubes on French menus are still beef stews, but you will now be offered daubes made with wild boar and others that  are based on goose, duck,  tuna, or seafood.  In Provence, most restaurants will still have traditional daubes on their menu in winter, though each restaurant will claim that theirs is unique. From my experience, those that I have tasted and enjoyed, have all been close to the original version.  All have been splendid but remain fundamentally similar.  Despite that caveat, the disputes over the slight differences among chefs and the cognoscenti are never ending.

Daube on French menus:
Daube à l'Ancienne –  Daube in the traditional manner; beef marinated and then stewed with red wine and tomato base. The vegetables include onions and carrots. Dishes offered à l'Ancienne, mean prepared in the traditional manner also offers the diner a chance to ask the waiter what "a l'ancienne" means to the chef. Do ask, I have been surprised by the variety of answers.

Daube de boeuf. (With parsnip puree, button mushrooms, and lardons).  FF

Daube à la Niçoise - A daube in the manner of the City of Nice on the Cote d”Azur. On menus in Nice written in Niçard (Nissart), the local dialect, mostly a dialect of Provencal and Italian, the menu may offer La Doba Nissarda -The Stew Nicoise.  Apart from using a local red wine the Nissarde version often includes a local Marc, Armagnac or Cognac. Nice is famous for many other dishes including Salade Nicoise and Ratatouille.

Daube de boeuf    FF
Daube aux Cuisses de Canards – Daube with duck’s leg.  This red wine based daube is a local favorite in Lot et Garonne.

Daube de Mouton A mutton stew; the mutton will be marinated, with most of the fat removed, and then cooked slowly with wine and vegetables as with a beef daube.

Daube d'Agneau
Lamb Daube with Pappardelle
Daube Gasconne aux Pruneaux – Beef Daube in the manner of Gasconne, Gascony; made with added prunes. The old principality of Gascony has an agricultural base firmly anchored in plums for the prune industry.  The center of the French prune industry is the town of Agen.  

Daube de Colombe
Pigeon daube.

Daube de Sanglier avec Raviolis Maison – A daub of wild boar served with home made ravioli.  This, almost certainly, will be farmed wild boar;  real wild boar would be sanglier sauvage or would be part of a "hunting season" menu, a Menu de Chasse.
Daube de Thon à la Sétoise – A tuna daube made in the manner of the famous fishing port of Séte on the Mediterranean.
Daube de Poulpe à l'Encre de Seiche -  A daube of octopuses flavored with cuttlefish ink.


Photograph courtesy of Office de Tourisme Intercommunal du
Pays d'Aubagne et de l'Etoile
Atelier Barbotine, Aubagne dabiere
Aubagne is in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône
 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
Daubes were initially made in metal or earthenware pots called daubières. These are covered pots that were made in a wide variety of shapes, and designed for long cooking as the less expensive cuts were generally used for long-cooked stews. The traditional daubière would be a terracotta or metal pot. The lids were made to allow the water which became steam to condenses on the inside and return to the stew, which allowed for the long cooking time required. Today,  large casserole containers may do; nevertheless, for serving in the better restaurants an antique or specially created daubière may be used to present the dish and the traditional inexpensive cuts may be replaced by better and more flavorful choices.

18th Century Daubiere.

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Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2016.

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