Classic Daube of Beef


  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into batons
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) beef, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned plain flour
  • ½ bottle full-bodied red wine
  • finely pared zest and juice of an orange
  • 2 tablespoons black olives
  • 8 pieces dried tomato, each snipped into 2 or 3 pieces
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprig of rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds – optional
  • salt, if needed


In a frying pan fry the onion and celery in the oil until the onion is golden brown. Transfer to a casserole. Dust the meat in the seasoned flour and brown it in the frying pan. Add it to the casserole. Pour the wine into the frying pan and boil it up, scraping up any cooking residues. When reduced by about a third, pour it over the beef. Cut the zest into fine shreds and stir it and the juice into the beef, adding also the olives, tomato, pepper and herbs. Put the lid on and cook the casserole in a preheated oven at about 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 2 hours. Check the seasoning when you are ready to serve. Olives are quite salty and you are unlikely to need to add extra salt. Jacket or mashed potatoes are perfect with this, and instead of another vegetable accompaniment, I would serve a green salad afterwards, to mop up any remaining gravy.

Left-over daube is excellent reheated and served with fresh pasta or gnocchi, and it also makes a very good filling for homemade ravioli.