LA DAUBE PROVENÇALE
1 1/2 pounds stewing steak or better
2 yellow onions
8 whole cloves
4 garlic cloves
1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces bacon strips
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup red wine
Cut the steak into 1/2-inch cubes. It is all right to use a better grade of steak than stewing. (As I write this recipe, my local supermarket is having such a sale on top sirloin it’s cheaper than the fattiest ground beef. Go figure. Now if they would only have a sale on gold.)
Peel the 2 onions and cut each of them into 4 wedges. Stick a whole clove into each of the 8 onion wedges. Scrape off the surface of the carrot. Cut the carrot into round pieces no more than 1/2-inch thick. Peel and mince garlic cloves.
Put olive oil and bacon strips in skillet. Heat at medium-heat until bacon begins to brown. (Some versions of this recipe call for strips or slices heavily marbled with fat. This is no problem at all. Simply pick the package of bacon that is on top of the others. Some good Samaritan has gone before you, heroically going through all the bacon packages looking for the meatiest and leaving you exactly what you wanted.)
Back at the range it is time to add to the skillet: steak cubes, onion wedges with cloves in them, carrot pieces, garlic,
diced tomatoes, bay leaf, peppercorns, orange zest, sea salt, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. (“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?” Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Cook on medium heat until steak cubes start to brown. Add red wine. Bring to boil. Lower temperature to between off and warm. Cover with lid and let stew simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
This is great. Give it only to loved ones or a boss at promotion time.
1) Insects don’t like the scent of onions. So, cut open an onion and rub the two halves all over your body before crossing a mosquito-infested swamp.
2) The French tried to build the Panama Canal before the Americans did. They failed because too many of their workers succumbed to malaria.
3) The Americans succeeded because they discovered malaria was borne by mosquitoes. We destroyed the pesky critters by destroying their swamps.
4) Mightn’t it have been simpler to have the canal workers rub their bodies with onion halves before going to work each day?
5) Of course, the thousands of sweaty, oniony workers would have had problems convincing beautiful ladies to dance with them after work.
6) But just how many spiffed-up young ladies could the workers have found in the middle of a mosquito-riddled swamp?
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.