With harvest in the northern hemisphere underway, we asked vintners to share their favorite fall recipes. In our third installment of this three-part series, we checked in with Château Lynch-Bages of Bordeaux, France.
Harvest at Lynch-Bages, the storied Left Bank Bordeaux château, is beginning to wind down for the year. The white grapes and the Merlot have already come in, while picking started on the plots of Cabernet Sauvignon on Oct. 6.
At the end of harvest, Marina Cazes, granddaughter of Jean-Charles Cazes, who bought the estate in the 1930s, says over 200 harvest workers will gather for the traditional Gerbaude, a celebratory lunch with wines from their estate. She shared this family recipe for La Daube de Boeuf, a classic French beef stew—a dish she says would be perfect as the main course.
In the cuisine des vendanges (harvest kitchen) at Lynch-Bages, the cooks use the previous harvest’s press wine, the tannic wine pulled from the grapes after fermentation is complete, for this recipe. But if you’re making this at home for your own harvest celebration, Cazes says any red wine will do, especially something full-bodied such as a Minervois from the Languedoc. Serve over wide egg noodles or boiled potatoes with a glass of red Bordeaux and be sure you’ve made enough for leftovers; Cazes says this dish will be better the next day.
• 2 1/2 pounds beef cheeks (chuck, shoulder, short ribs, brisket, shank or
rump are good substitutions)
• 1 bottle red press wine (or dry red wine)
• 1 onion, cut in half
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 thyme sprig
• 1 parsley sprig
• 5 peppercorns
• Vegetable oil
• 5 shallots, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 3 pounds carrots, sliced into thin rounds
• 1/2 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
• 1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into lardons 1/4-inch thick
• Salt and pepper
1. The day before serving, cut the beef into 2-inch chunks. Place in a large, non-reactive bowl with the onion, bay leaf, thyme, parsley and peppercorns and cover with wine. Cover, and leave in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
2. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade liquid. Pat the cubes of beef dry with paper towels. In a large heavy saucepan, heat two tablespoons of oil on medium high heat. Add the meat. This will release a good deal of liquid. Wait a few minutes, then remove the meat with a skimmer and pour the juices into the reserved marinade. Return the pan to the heat, add two more tablespoons of oil. Sear the beef cubes until brown on each side and season with salt and pepper. Remove the meat again and set to the side.
3. Heat one tablespoon of oil in the pan, then add the shallots and sauté them until transluscent. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the cooking shallots and stir for a few minutes then add the reserved marinade.
4. When the marinade begins to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the carrots, mushrooms, lardons and reserved meat. Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat for at least an hour. Adjust seasonings and serve warm. (Serves 6)