ffwd: beef daube with carrots and elbow macaroni

A Bowl of Daube

I’m sure that each time I make a beef stewy thing I mention that it’s not my favorite sort of meal. I’ve never been able to sort out whether it’s the long-cooked vegetables or the texture of the meat. So, I was ambivalent when I set out to make this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe for Beef Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni.

The recipe ideally calls for beef cheeks. I still have a chest freezer half-filled with the hind quarter of a cow that we purchased last fall from my sister’s father-in-law who raised it. At the time, we requested the beef cheeks, even though they are obviously from the other end of the animal, thinking others might not want this less familiar meat. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it.

As an alternative, the recipe suggests using chuck roast. Chuck roast is the shoulder of the cow, again from the wrong end of what we have. It seemed like I should use something I had rather than going to the store to buy more beef. I looked up other alternative cuts that are good for braising and so I used a round roast which is part of the hind quarter. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe with the addition of two parsnips that were sitting in my vegetable drawer.

Daube Ingredients

The meat smelled great as it browned, though it did make a big mess of the stovetop in spite of the splatter guard. The vegetables plus some bacon were softened before making a gravy with the addition of some flour, water, beef broth and red wine. The meat was added back in and the pot sealed up with foil, then it braised in a slow oven for nearly two hours, filling the kitchen with a wonderful aroma.

Browned Meat

Shortly before the daube was done, I cooked some elbow macaroni and grated some bittersweet chocolate. The chocolate was stirred into the pot and allowed to simmer, stovetop, for a few minutes before stirring in the nearly cooked pasta.

Before the Elbows

I loved the flavors in this stew. The carrots and parsnips made the gravy sweet and the chocolate added extra complexity. I also liked how the elbows absorbed the delicious sauce. The only negative is that I definitely chose the wrong cut of meat to substitute. The round was a bit tough which took away from the end result. I think if the meat were more meltingly tender, I would have loved it. All isn’t lost as I would definitely try this again with the recommended chuck or cheeks. I’m sure that would fix the issue I caused. Howard, who is more of a beef stew person than I am, had the same problem with the meat, but thought the elbows added a fun touch to the meal.

I liked the wine I added to the pot: Toasted Head Untamed Red, which included the suggested Syrah grapes along with Zinfandel and Petite Syrah. There was enough left in the bottle for two glasses to drink along with the meal. Perfect!

We don’t’ share the recipes made in this cooking group, but I encourage you to find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

To see how other bloggers’ daubes came out, and whether they found cheeks or not, check out their links here.


Posted on 30 November 2012, in Beef, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Sorry that the cut of meat you had didn’t work right. I’m jealous that you have such fresh, know-where-it-came-from beef, though!

  2. Beef stew-type dinners aren’t my favorite either, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the meat cooked quite right – but I also loved the flavor of this dish! Yours looks just lovely! Nice job!

  3. Beef cut subsitutions always make me nervous – I can never seem to get it all straight in my head.

    I loved the way this dish smelled cooking – and your choice of wines sounds great!
    Have a good weekend.

  4. Betsy, I really like the first picture of the lovingly prepared beef with the elbow macaroni and slices of carrots! It all sounds and looks delicious, wine and all!

    Hope you will have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Betsy, Sorry your meat wasn’t as tender as it should have been…I wonder if you cooked it longer if it would have gotten more tender. Love the way your dish looks…love the idea of the parsnips! The aroma was wonderful! A definite keeper for me!!

  6. I always feel so lost with stewed beef dishes. Mine never seem to turn out right and half the time I’m just confused about what kind or cut of meat I’m supposed to be using. This time I even got the exact right cut and I still wasn’t a fan of the beef, but I did love the sauce.

  7. If it was tough, it probably need a bit more time in the oven… tends to be that way with tougher cuts of meat. Either way, I’m glad to see that you are going to try it again – it is certainly worth it!

  8. I couldn’t get cheeks from my butcher either, even though we got half of a steer. Too bad about the tough meat. I hope you get to try it again. It is a good one!

  9. I love the name of the wine… you did get your head into the dish after all. Glad you enjoyed it.

  10. We loved this recipe using a roast. Yours looks lovely even if it was a bit tough. We thought the flavor was great. Your photos make this dish look perfect.

  11. I”m surprised the braising didn’t adequately tenderize the beef for you. Does your oven run hot? That sometimes happens…a longer, lower braise is oven better. I hope I get to do this with actual cheeks someday.

  12. Betsy, my first question, what happened to the beef cheeks of your father-in-law’s cow. Who got them and what did the “who” do with them? I don’t know why your beef wasn’t tender (just read the other comments and yes, a longer braise will break up the toughness of almost any piece of meat). I happen to love parsnips but never buy them to include in any dish. I think parsnips with this would have been perfect. My mom used to make a parsnips and carrots dish ever Christmas. It was good. I’ve enjoyed Toasted Head before and you must share my same philosophy to not cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. I enjoyed your Post.

    • I don’t know exactly where the cheeks went, but I suspect their usual fate was either to be discarded or to be added in with the ground beef. I don’t think they were used to anyone actually asking for the cheeks. We also asked for the liver (I just wanted to make a batch of dog treats), and they gave us 10 livers, probably another part that people didn’t really want. I feel that if you are going to eat an animal, all its parts should be used (though I’m not personally fond of most offal).

  13. It’s a bit odd that although you ordered most of the cow, they wouldn’t give you the cheeks. I tought that this would be one case when they would be happy to source it for you, as after all the cow has cheeks. Your stew looks great!

  14. I’m glad you enjoyed the stew!

  15. I have had that wine before as well and it is verrrrrrry tasty! I get nervous about cuts of beef too – I always look at that diagram at the butcher while I’m waiting in line to see which cut comes from where and I still can never keep it straight. Thank god for the internet, right?

  16. I used chuck for this and it turned out delicious. Cooking and braising beef can be very
    tricky. I want to let you know I did use the turkey liver to make a pate and it was so good.
    Just finished it today. I am anxious to try this with fresh chicken liver soon as hubby and I
    love that with thinly sliced pickles or sliced onions. Thanks again for the suggestion.
    Have a great weekend.

  17. Even if it’s not your favourite it’s still a great meal for the chilly weather, non? I liked the ease of preparation of this dish for sure.

  18. I bet you’ll love it with chuck or cheeks! Have a great week :)

Thanks for visiting! Leave me a comment to let me know what you think. I love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: