Provençal beef stew (daube Provençale from The Complete Robuchon Joël Robuchon

Serves 6
Preparation: 30 minutes (marinade) plus 30 minutes
Cooking: 4 hours
The marinade should be prepared at least 4 hours in advance, the day before if possible.
At one time, this traditional beef stew would have simmered for hours in the corner of a Provençal hearth or stove. This version uses cubed beef for braising; the cheek is the best part for this purpose.
In Provence they also make a daube from the Camargue bull, using the same proportions, and from lamb shoulder or neck chopped into 50g morsels. The recipe is very much the same, but with lamb one uses dry white wine instead of red, and lemon zest instead of orange, does not lard the meat, and does not use the pork rind or dried orange zest. Lamb daube spends less time in the oven: 3 hours should be enough.
Like most stews, this daube improves with time and is better reheated or even cold. If you plan to serve it cold, you might add a chopped up veal foot to the pan when you add the stew meat, which will encourage a jelly-like consistency.
20 stems flat leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
7 cloves garlic, one peeled and degermed and finely chopped, the other 6 peeled
100g lardons
1.5kg beef stew meat (cheeks if possible, or shoulder or chuck), cut into 5 cm cubes
1 bottle robust red wine (cotes du rhone or syrah)
50ml cognac
3 whole cloves
9 tablespoons olive oil
1 bouquet garni (5 stems parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 small celery branches, 2 pieces dried orange rind, and 1 sprig fresh sage, wrapped and tied in a green leek leaf)
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
250g fresh pork rind
800g new carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (less than 0.5 cm thick)
1 heart of celery, washed and sliced into thin rounds (less than 0.5 cm) thick)
Grated nutmeg
500g small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced (p.91)
200g small new onions, peeled
Zest of 1 organic orange, free of bitter white pith, chopped into 2 cm x 1 cm slivers
100g black olives, niçoise if possible
200ml beef broth, home made or from a bouillon cube
500g flour
Salt and pepper

The night before, mix the finely chopped parsley and finely chopped garlic. Roll the lardons in this mixture. Use the tip of a knife to make an incision in each cube of stew meat and slip lardons into these little pockets. Put the stuffed cubes into a terrine or large bowl with the wine, cognac, cloves, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bouquet garni, peppercorns, and the rest of the garlic. Mix, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight, stirring 2 or 3 times.
The next day, put the pork rind in a saucepan with 1 litre of water. Bring to a boil and let the water bubble for 2 minutes. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove the pork to a colander and rinse it under cold water. Let it drain in the colander, then line the bottom of your stew pot with the blanched pork rind. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the rest of the ingredients, too; a daubière or clay casserole would be ideal, but lacking those you could use a cast-iron casserole or other heavy pan).
Drain the beef cubes in a colander set over a bowl; do not discard the marinade. Carefully pat the cubes dry with paper towels. Heat the remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the stew meat and brown all over, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat to a dish with the skimmer.
In the same pan, sauté the carrots and celery over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and stir in 2 pinches of grated nutmeg.
Preheat the oven to 250F/120C/gas 1/2. Build the daube layer by layer in the pan lined with pork rind. First put down a layer of meat, then tomato, then carrots, celery, baby onions, orange zest, and olives. Pour the reserved marinade and beef broth over the whole thing; if the vegetables are not completely covered, top off with water. Taste the liquid and season if necessary, but be careful: the dish will cook for 4 hours, the salt will concentrate, and you will not be able to add water while the pan is sealed.
Prepare the sealing pastry (pâte à luter): combine the flour with 200 ml of water in a small bowl, mixing until it forms a dough. Roll it out with your hands into a long ‘snake’ of dough. Put the cover on the pan of daube and seal the lid to the pan by pressing the dough all around their seam and joining it at the ends.
Bake for 4 hours. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the sealing pastry in front of your guests, and then take the pan back to the kitchen to degrease the surface of the broth. Remove the bouquet garni and, if you can find them, the whole cloves. Serve very hot.
• These recipes are taken from The Complete Robuchon (Grub Street, £25)