The rich beef stew from the Camargue region of the Rhône delta in the south of France is called gardiane de Taureau. It takes the name gardiane (cowboy) from the men who tend the local herds of Camargue bulls, which is the traditional meat for the dish. Here, beef chuck, a worthy substitute for a long braise, marinates overnight in red wine with vegetables, then is browned and left to simmer in its marinade with black olives, herbs, and orange rind. Use a sharp vegetable peeler or knife to remove the orange peel in one piece, if you can, so you can lift it out later. Allow a day for the beef to marinate, and 3½ hours for it to cook. You can make it in advance and skim off the solidified fat, if you like. For a thicker stew, use the local — and medieval — method of grating dry breadcrumbs into the cooking liquid to thicken it. Also traditional in the Camargue is a special variety of red rice grown in the region and served with the dish; use long-grain white rice or another variety.
|3½||pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and
cut into 4-inch cubes
|1||large onion, cut into 10 wedges|
|3||carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces|
|3||cloves garlic, peeled and left whole|
|1||bottle full-bodied red wine, preferably Côtes de Rhône|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|2||tablespoons vegetable oil|
|1||cup pitted black Niçoise olives, or other black olives in brine|
|2||sprigs fresh thyme|
|1||sprig fresh rosemary|
|1||Navel orange, rind removed in 1 long piece|
|Extra thyme and rosemary leaves, chopped
1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, onion, carrots, garlic, and wine. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or preferably for 24 hours, stirring at least once.
2. One hour before you begin to cook, remove the meat from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature.
3. Set the oven at 325 degrees.
4. Drain the meat well, reserving the marinade and solids. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
5. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Brown the meat in batches on all sides, taking care not to crowd the pan; transfer browned meat to a bowl.
6. When all the meat is removed from the pan, pour in the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, scraping up all the small bits that have accumulated on the bottom. Return the meat to the pan with any juices in the bowl. Add the olives, thyme and rosemary sprigs, and orange rind. Return the mixture to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven.
7. Cook the meat for 3½ hours, stirring every hour. Remove and discard the orange rind, and the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and thyme. Serve with rice.
Jill Gibson can be reached at email@example.com.
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