June 29, 2022

A la Carte: Thinking of Those Southern Warmer Climes? Creole Daube Will Take You There

Lee White

Finally, inflation has really got to me at the supermarket.

I so wanted to make a pot roast and saw a lovely fat chuck roast. Before I put it into my cart, I saw the price: $31. I looked again. Yup, $31 for a piece of meat that requires 3 to 4 hours of cooking before it has the perfect chew.

I left that market with chicken. The next day I tried another market. That piece was $23, still expensive, but bought it and made the recipe below.

I shared enough with my next-door neighbors and the next morning Sue told me she saw the circular at McQuade’s said $3.99 a pound. Quick like a bunny, I went to McQuade’s and bought three and put them in my freezer.

Instead of my regular recipe, shared with friend Ralph Turri some years ago, I found this recipe in a new Southern Living. My friend Meredith, a Texan transplant from Connecticut, shares the magazines with me. In return, I give her my New York Times Sunday Magazine. 

This recipe has exact amounts. The bacon doesn’t have to be hickory-smoke, the chuck can be smaller or larger, the veggies can vary. But I am in love with Better than Bouillon stock and they are now available on the shelves of most big supermarkets.

Creole Daube
From Southern Living, January, 2022, page 96
Yield: serves 6 to 8

3 thick-cut hickory-smoke bacon slices, coarsely chopped
1 3 ½ pound boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 small yellow onions, chopped (about 2 ¼ cups)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large celery stalk, chopped (about ½ cup)
3 tablespoons tomato paste (from 1 6-oumce can)
2 ½ tablespoons chopped garlic from 8 garlic cloves)
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock (I use Better than Bouillon—1 teaspoon for each cup water)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 small carrots, sliced on an angle into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
4 tablespoons of flour stirred into 2 to 3 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and fat rendered, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and reserve dripping to a skilled.

Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-heat. Add roast to Dutch oven and sear. Until browned on 2 sides, about 12 minutes. Carefully flip halfway through. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, bell pepper and celery to Dutch oven; cook, stirring often and scraping browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven, until onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until paste turns a share darker, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer oven medium.

Simmer stirring occasionally, until it is slightly thickened and some of alcohol burns off, about 3 minutes. Stir in stock, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and clove. Nestle in roast and bacon along with any juices that have accumulated; bring to a simmer over medium, then remove from heat.

Cover and transfer to oven, and braise about 2 hours.

Remove from oven, uncover and stir in carrots and turnips. Cover and return to oven; braise until meat and vegetables are tender, about another hour. Remove and let rest 15 minutes. Remove roast and shred into large pieces. I reduce liquid to 1/3, then add flour/cold water mixture and whisk into a gravy.

Serve with fresh vegetables and roasted potatoes.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes ‘Nibbles’ and a cooking column called ‘A La Carte’ for LymeLine.com along with the Shore Publishing and Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at leeawhite@aol.com.