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Saturday, August 27, 2011

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DAUBE...but were afraid to ask!

Please welcome guest blogger Pat Deuson. Pat has lived in many exotic parts of the world and brings us here a recipe from France. I'm indebted to her for enlarging my cooking vocabulary--I'd never hard of daube as a dish.

Thanks, Judy, for inviting me into your kitchen! If this was a class that Neva Moore was giving at Cooks Inn Cooking School, I’m sure she’d say “Today's class is 'All You Need to Know About Daube,” and, being Neva she might add, “but were afraid to ask.”

And she might begin this way: 

“French cooking is done with a love for food, passion for the right ingredient and a reliance on a readily available, top quality food stuffs. If you’ve ever oohed and aahed [or, as is my case, drooled] your way thru an open air market in France you know what I mean. Fruit and vegetables gleam like jewels, exquisite cuts of meat are displayed proudly, fresh herbs beckon, and flowers are everywhere. But what to do with this bounty? Or the bounty you find in your local farmers market and even big box store?” And then her class at Cooks Inn Cooking School would get busy. 

It's bright and cheerful in that big back kitchen in a old converted house that hangs out over the central California coast and daube is just the perfect thing for that class to be making. But what is daube?

We’d all recognize daube if it a piping bowl was put in front of us. It's stew. A Provençal stew of beef braised in wine, vegetables, redolent with garlic and herbes de Provence, rich black olives, and a zest of tangy orange peel. At one time, and no doubt occasionally still is, daube was cooked in a clay cooking pot called a daubière.  A daubière is an earthenware casserole with a tight-fitting lid used to cook daubes. Originally they had a deep lid in which burning charcoal could be put.  But you could use a modern pot that works quite well called a doufeu, meaning gentle fire, a cast iron round or oval pot with an indented lid. Or what  most of us already have in the kitchen, a heavy stainless steel 6 qt pot, because anyone them will get the job, of tenderizing* beef, done. Once you’ve got your pot and your eager to get started, what then? The yellow pot above is a daubiere; the orange, a doufeu.

I usually turn to Julia Child and here’s her recipe:  or sometimes to Saveur . But none of these recipes, while tasty, are the daube I've had in Provence. They lack Herbes de Provence, they lack orange zest, they lack smoky black olives and so they lack that je ne sais quoi, that we do in fact all know, they lack the essence of Provence. But good news: here’s an online recipe from Veronica Kavanagh on the ‘divinecaroline’ site that has it all.

So if you decide that stew is for you, as Julia would say, bon appetite!

* Here’s a handy article on what braising is and what it does and a bit of history:

Superior Longing, written by P.A. Deuson and published by Echelon Press, will be available 9/15/11 in ebook at, Smashwords, Kindle, and Nook. True, Neva didn't write it, but I know she'd be happy if you look take a look or visit Superior Longing’s blog: or Facebook page:


  1. Been looking for a recipe for a Doufeu, thanks so much!

  2. Sounds delicious and like I need to visit France! Also, a good reason to get some kitchen shopping in :) Thanks!

  3. Your recipe has made me hungry! Thanks for sharing it with us.