Avignon Daube

Daube à l’Avignonnaise

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Servings:

    6

Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

Were lambs’ trotters marketed in the United States, they would replace the calf’s foot or the pig’s feet in this recipe. White beans usually accompany this daube; fresh egg noodles seem to me the perfect accompaniment. The white wine may be replaced by red wine. The thyme may be eliminated from the bouquet and either it alone or a mixture of dried, crumbled herbs sprinkled over the layers of meats and vegetables. The presence of dried orange peel in a bouquet is specifically Provençal and was originally that of the bitter Seville orange, or bigarrade (just as duck in orange was originally wild duck finished with a bit of bitter orange juice for relief: canard à la bigarrade). A 5- or 6-inch strip (when freshly peeled; dried, it will wither to a small curl) is about right. It is practical to keep a few dried peels ready for use in a jar; peel the orange thinly to eliminate the white inner part, string the peels up with needle and thread, and hang them so that air circulates freely around each until well dried—3 or 4 days.

The stew will be at its best if prepared the previous day, left at room temperature, uncovered, overnight, skimmed of surface fat the following day, slowly reheated, and left to simmer for another ½ hour or so.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds lamb shanks, boned, superficial fat removed
  • 3 ounces fresh fatback, cut into 1- by ¼-inch strips
  • Salt, pepper
  • ½ teaspoon finely crumbled mixed dried herbs

Marinade

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Thyme, bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 calf’s foot, large upper bone removed, split, each half cut in two crosswise (or 2 split pigs’ feet)
  • 6 ounces fresh pork rind, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 10 ounces (2 thick strips) lean salt pork, cut crosswise into a dozen pieces
  • Bouquet garni: Parsley (plus root, if possible), leek greens (if available), branch celery, thyme, bay leaf, strip of dried orange peel

Chopped Mixture

  • 1 pound sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ripe, firm tomatoes, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • Salt (preferably coarse)
  • ¼ cup Cognac
  • Water (to cover)

Method

Lard the pieces of meat with the strips of fatback, first tossed in the mixture of herbs and seasonings. Marinate for about 3 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator), covered, turning the pieces around in their marinade two or three times during that period.

Cover the calf’s foot, the rinds, and the pieces of lean salt pork with cold water, bring to a boil, simmer for about 5 minutes, drain, and rinse.

The traditional daubière is a pot-bellied earthenware affair, the form of which reduces greatly the liquid’s surface, minimizing evaporation and facilitating skimming. Use a 6- to 8-quart heavy utensil (earthenware, copper, enameled ironware), preferably deep of form, with a tight-fitting lid. Pour in a bit of water, arrange the foot, a handful of pork-rind squares, and some pieces of salt pork so that the bottom is completely covered. Put half of the lamb pieces on this bed, placing the bouquet garni in the middle, scatter over half of the chopped vegetable mixture and half of the remaining rinds and salt pork, pressing things firmly into place, sprinkle with salt, and repeat the procedure. Before adding any liquid, be certain that the solid elements are arranged so as to leave the fewest holes or gaps possible, a minimum of liquid being required to completely submerge them. Sprinkle with Cognac, strain over the marinade through a sieve, and add just enough water to cover. Bring slowly to the boiling point (using an asbestos pad to disperse the heat if working with a direct flame)—it should take about an hour, skim off the foam that forms on the surface, and cook, covered, at the slightest suggestion of a simmer, for about 5 hours. If to be served immediately, skim off the fat as thoroughly as possible; if left to cool, remove the fat the following day.