Daube de Boeuf Provencale

From Wikipedia: "Daube is a classic Provencal stew made with inexpensive beef braised in wine, vegetables, garlic, and herbes de Provence, and traditionally cooked in a daubière, a braising pan."

"Variations also call for olives, prunes, and flavoring with duck fat, vinegar, brandy, lavender, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries, or orange peel."

Daube does takes some preparation ...

One day in advance, get the meat marinating in red wine - diced beef. Follow the Chef's rule that you should only ever cook with wine that you would be happy to drink. Would be ... if drinking alcohol is not within your paleo template, you don't have to drink it. Fear not! Once in the oven, the alcohol is cooked out.

I went with Cabernet Sauvignon from Languedoc, the region right next to Provence. Good wine, which I am more than happy drinking!

Place the beef in a dish, along with some diced streaky bacon or lardons, some thyme, sage, maybe fennel, even anchovy for salty pungency and certainly some minced garlic. The meat will npw marinate happily covered in the fridge until you come to cook it.

On the cooking day, a good couple of hours in advance of meal time, pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Collect the marinated meat from the juices and sear in a hot frying pan. Any liquid should be poured back into the bowl of juices so the meat does not cook in steam - we want it browned.

You may need to do this in stages, but once the meat is browned, transfer it to a lidded ovenproof dish.

Peel and chop a few shallots, slice some carrot and add to the ovenproof dish along with a couple of bay leaves, some black pepper and more garlic, the cloves simply halved this time.

Zest some orange peel into the mix, too, and add any of those optional aromatic flavours like prunes, lavender, nutmeg and cinnamon at this stage.

For the roux, melt a little lard or dripping in the pan and sprinkle over arrowroot. Allow the arrowroot to colour slightly, then de-glaze along with all the meat flavour in the pan with the reserved marinating juices.

You will notice that the juice is especially meaty as the wine has tenderised the meat overnight and small particles of meat will be in the juice.

Pour into the ovenproof dish and place in the oven at 180C for a couple of hours, removing the lid after one hour for the sauce to reduce and colour up.

Take care to stir the Daube a few times throughout this last hour and maybe 20 minutes before serving, scatter in some green olives.

Serve out with some greens, or more traditionally, with boiled white rice or frites, fried in goose fat or lard; enjoy with a glass of the same wine you used to marinate. Garnish with parsley.