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Harvest Recipe: A Warming Beef Stew from a Historic Bordeaux Château

Lynch-Bages celebrates the end of harvest with this authentic French dish

Jennifer Fiedler
Posted: October 8, 2010

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.

La Daube de Boeuf with Press Wine

• 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)

Lee Reiswig
Lahaina, HI, USA —  October 9, 2010 2:29pm ET
I assume you would also add the meat back in in step 4.
Jeanneal Griswold
Foster City, CA, USA —  October 11, 2010 3:24pm ET
In the first part of Step 2, do you actually COOK the meat, or have you turned the fire off?
Jennifer Fiedler
New York, NY —  October 11, 2010 3:44pm ET
Hi Jeanneal: Yes, keep the heat on in step 2. This will help release the juices in the meat. Depending on how long you left the meat in the marinade and what cut of beef you have, there will be a varying amount of liquid that is released. With less liquid in the pan, you'll get a better sear on the beef cubes, which will give you more flavor in the finished dish. Hope that helps!

Lee: Thanks for catching that! The instructions are fixed now.
John Fogarty
Los Angeles —  October 11, 2010 6:04pm ET
when do you cook the lardons of bacon? do they go in uncooked in the marinade the night before? or are they cooked prior to the simmering of the stew, and after the beef is browned?
This looks great!
Jennifer Fiedler
New York, NY —  October 11, 2010 6:20pm ET
Hi John,

The uncooked lardons go in to the simmering marinade in step 4 alongside the carrots, mushrooms and the meat. Over the hour or more that you'll have this on the stove bubbling away, they'll get cooked.

I'm familiar with similar stew recipes in which the lardons are sauteed on high heat and the vegetables cooked in the rendered fat, but I tried it the way that Lynch-Bages recommends here and it worked wonderfully.

Happy Cooking!
New Orleans, La, us —  October 12, 2010 10:06pm ET
Very nice recipe. Simple and great flavor. Made it for the parents and they loved it!

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