Oranges are the Only Fruit


The problem with writing a seasonal monthly food and wine article is that it can get repetitive - so if you want to know how to 'devil and pull' a turkey you'll have to look back through our archive or invest in a copy of Jane Grigson's wonderful 'English Food'.

In the teeth of a British winter when the days are short and the nights are cold, warming comfort food is the order of the day, which is why my thoughts turned towards a Provençal beef daube with olives and orange zest.


Provençal Beef Daube with Olives and Orange Zest

Provençal Beef Daube with Olives and Orange Zest
[Serves 6 adults]

1 kilo of roughly diced braising steak
200g of unsmoked diced pancetta
A bouquet garni of thyme, bay leaves and parsley
3 medium sized Spanish onions
300g of carrots chopped in 2cm rounds
4 anchovy fillets - chopped
1 head of garlic – peeled and sliced
400g of chopped tomatoes
2 large oranges or blood oranges
1 lemon
100g bunch of watercress
100g of pitted black olives
1 bunch of flat leaf parsely
1 x 75 cl bottle of red wine – Côtes-du-Rhône would be ideal.
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Plain Flour

Coat the diced steak with plain flour and seasoning and batch fry in olive oil in a non-stick wok until well coloured and then set aside in a large bowl.

Cook the pancetta in the same pan until browned and add that to the steak.

Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy-bottomed casserole dish and slice the onions and add them too. Cook on a medium heat stirring periodically until translucent then add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Now add the carrots, tomatoes, anchovies, bouquet garni, steak, lardons and wine to the casserole along with 5 x 5cm strips of orange zest.

Season with salt and pepper and cover with foil and a close-fitting lid and cook in a pre-heated oven at 140° for 3 hours. It is worth checking the casserole dish after 90 minutes and adding more liquid (water, stock or wine) if required. I add the olives at this stage.

Whilst the daube is cooking prepare a shallow bowl of watercress covered with round slices of orange dressed with the juice of half a lemon, half an orange, a good splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt.


Orange and Watercress Salad

Serve the daube with creamy mashed potatoes and cover both with chopped parsley. The watercress salad can be served as side dish or as a palate-cleansing follow-up.

These portions are generous so we serve any left-over daube as a pasta sauce the following day which gives two meals from one batch of cooking.

As a purist, I'd probably serve that with a red Bellet or Bandol but for the purposes of research I went with this month's new 'La Brande' Castillon de Bordeaux 2015 which certainly has enough weight and briary, peppery fruit to accompany the dish.

December Wines of the Month: £89.00 per case (of six bottles) delivered, saving £20.40 on list prices.