I wasn’t planning on making this dish when I did, but I made the mistake of asking my sister what she wanted for dinner. She replied, “Meat,” and that her carnivore-loving girlfriend would also be joining us, if that was okay.
Now those who’ve read my blog before know that I don’t have much experience with cuts of beef other than ground beef. I was so worried about getting the right cut of beef for this recipe that I called my other sister (Chunklet’s mom) for help while searching through the meat section at the grocery store and had the butcher help me pick out a good chuck roast. I specifically asked for a “beef chuck roast”, and for some reason he asked me, “Oh, have you been watching America’s Test Kitchen?” I said I hadn’t, and he told me that a recent episode featured beef stew, prompting many a customer to come in asking for this particular cut. He was very helpful, showed me two very nice looking slabs of roast to choose from, and chopped it into pieces for me. If you haven’t already taken full advantage of your butcher’s services, I highly recommend you start!
The prep for this dish took longer and required a bit more babysitting than the recipe indicates. I carefully browned the beef in two batches, but it was going so quickly that I was behind on cutting the parsnips and preparing the bouquet garni. Thank goodness I used pre-cut carrots. I had to turn off the heat before putting the veggies in for their turn in the oil.
In my quest for the proper cut of beef, I remembered the Central Coast syrah but forgot the brandy. Instead, I substituted in Grand Marnier. It seemed to be a small amount and didn’t think the flavor would be upset too much. So, I went with it. I also adjusted the herbage by using only thyme, oregano and rosemary, while leaving out the celery leaves.
This dish turned out extremely well. I really enjoyed how tender and flavorful the meat was, and I even liked the parsnips, having never eaten one before now. I left the garlic in by request because the half bulb was so tender.
My sister and I ate the daube over white rice:
My sister’s girlfriend ate it plain right out of a mini-crock pot dish. (See top photo). I attempted to get a good picture of an individual portion but someone kept stealing bites between photos!
The recipe for this dish can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. And, to see other creations for this week’s ffwD, click on the LYL December 17, 2010!