Tante Célestine’s Beef Nougat

Nougat de boeuf de ma tante Célestine

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For

    six to eight


Appears in

Cuisine of the Sun

By Roger Vergé

Published 1979

  • About

Moderately expensive

N.B. This dish must be started at least the day before it is to be eaten, but it can be stored for several days in the refrigerator.


  • 1.5 kg ( lb) lean beefblade steak, shin
  • 2 calves’ feet
  • 200 g (7 oz) strips of lightly salted belly of pork, the size of a thumb
  • 2 x 750 ml bottles red wine such as Côtes de Provence
  • 3 very ripe tomatoes weighing 100 g ( oz) each
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 8 small new carrots
  • 2 large old carrots
  • 24 small pickling or button onions
  • 20 g (¾ oz) butter
  • 5 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni, composed of a bunch of parsley, a stick of celery, a large sprig of thyme, a bayleaf and a strip of orange peel
  • 1 dessertspoon roughly crushed peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons capers preserved in vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 200 g (7 oz) flour


The day before (in the morning)

  1. Cut the beef into pieces of about 60–70 g (2–2½ oz) each, and put them in a casserole. Add the chopped onions, the large carrots chopped, the bouquet garni, garlic and crushed peppercorns. Pour over the two bottles of wine. Mix well with a wooden spoon and leave to marinate for 4 hours in a cool place (but not in the refrigerator).
  2. While the meat is marinating boil the calves’ feet in 2 litres ( pints) unsalted water for 15 minutes.
  3. Peel the little onions and the small carrots, and soften in the butter, with 4 tablespoons water and a pinch of salt, in a covered sauté pan for 20–25 minutes, then set them aside in a cool place. Remove the stalks from the tomatoes, cut them in two horizontally and press each half in the palm of your hand to squeeze out the seeds and moisture. Chop into coarse dice.
  4. Bring the belly of pork strips, or lardons, to the boil in 2 litres ( pints) water. Boil for 2 minutes then drain and refresh in cold water.
  5. After the meat has been marinating for 3½ hours, preheat the oven to 90°C/190°F/Mark ¼. Add to the meat in its marinade the calves’ feet, lardons of belly of pork, tomatoes and stock cubes. Add cold water to cover the meat by 3 cm ( inches) and cover the casserole. Seal the lid with a soft pliable paste made of 200 g (7 oz) flour and a little water, and cook in the slow oven for 5 hours.
  6. After five hours, remove the casserole from the oven, loosen the seal of flour and water paste and take off the lid. Inhale the delicious aroma. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the chunks of beef and lardons of belly of pork and put them on one side in a deep dish. (This needs to be done exceedingly carefully, as the meat is very well-cooked and tends to disintegrate.) Remove the calves’ feet and extract all their little bones. Cut the flesh into large dice and add to the meat and lardons. Tip the casserole on one side and remove as much as possible of the fat, which rises to the surface, with a spoon. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve without pressing it through with a spoon, which would cloud the liquid. Return to the heat and bring to the boil for a moment. Add a pinch of salt.
  7. Choose a 3 litre ( pint) terrine, and pour in an even layer of 5–6 tablespoons of the liquid. Sprinkle with half the capers and chopped parsley. Arrange a layer of half the beef, lardons and meat from the calves’ feet and strew it with the cooked button onions (3). Lay the small carrots (3) on top lengthwise. Cover with a layer of sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the capers and parsley. Arrange the rest of the meat in a layer and pour over the rest of the sauce, which should just cover the beef. Put the terrine in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, so that the sauce can set to a good jelly. If any sauce was left over, put it in a small dish in the refrigerator to set.

Recommended wines

  • light young red wines, for instance new Beaujolais Villages, Côtes de Provence, Graves

Serving the terrine

8 Run the hot tap briefly over the base of the terrine, then turn it out on a long serving-dish. If you have some jelly left over, cut it into cubes and strew them round the terrine. Serve accompanied by small pickled gherkins and a good green salad.