Slow cooker beef daube is an old provencal French beef stew that features hints of orange and thyme in a bold red wine sauce.
This is a dish that can sit in the slow cooker all day and be ready for you when you get home, and it gets even better with time so you can make it in advance too!
Simple Slow Cooker Classic French Beef Stew
Ain’t no finer winter warmer than a good beef stew and this one hails from the Provence region of France. Traditionally cooked in a terracotta pot called a daubière my version leans on the slow cooker.
France is often known as the home of lah-di-dah fancy food, but it has a wonderful portfolio of comfort food.
A Traditional Boeuf en Daube or sometimes called daube of beef recipe would have been cooked over several days. Allowing an overnight rest in between each stage to intensify the flavour.
It is definitely a dish that is awesome on the second day. So feel free to double the recipe or even cook it a day before you eat it and store in the fridge overnight.
The prunes and orange zest may seem like an odd addition but they are very traditional variations in parts of France and I love them.
The orange adds a citrus headiness that I also use in my crispy chilli beef. The prunes an almost malty sweetness that balances the tartness of the orange.
Frequently Asked Questions
What cut of beef should I use?
My recipe for beef daube calls for some stewing beef a term that generally means a fairly fatty cut of beef that does a lot of work.
My favourite cut of beef for a stew is shin of beef, it has a lot of connective tissue. When it is slow-cooked this breaks down it adds a body to the resulting sauce that cannot be replicated with another cut.
It is what I use in my traditional British Beef Stew along with so many other recipes, but I regularly make this recipe with beef cheek.
It’s a less popular but wonderful piece of meat if you can get your hands on it. You simply must check out my beer braised beef cheek recipe.
You could even make this with oxtail if you wanted, just treat it in a similar fashion to my rabo de toro recipe.
Does the size of slow cooker matter?
In my opinion yes! If you make this in a larger crockpot there is not enough “volume” to allow the meat to cook slowly and it leads to a tougher piece of meat.
I cook for two and use a 3.7 litre (4 quart) slow cooker.
Do I have to use prunes?
No, they can be omitted, but please do give them a try, they add a wonderful sweet roundness of flaovur to the dish.
This slow cooker daube of beef recipe is pure comfort food and the sides should live up to that.
You could even cross European borders and serve this very French beef stew with an Italian polenta, although I would omit the cheese.
If you wanted to go a little lighter then some steamed greens like broccoli or green beans make a great side dish.
Or maybe just go for a big old bowl and a nice crusty French baguette.
Finally, if you have any leftover gravy, do not throw it away! Freeze it and serve it with sausages and mash, it is awesome!
I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 3½-4 Litre Slow Cooker, I use a 3.7 litre (4 quart) one made by Crockpot.
- 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Kitchen tongs.
- Slotted, stirring and serving spoons.
- Fine mesh sieve.
- Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Beef daube is a classic French beef stew, I cook mine in the slow cooker before reducing the cooking liquid down to create the richest of sauces.
- 350g (12oz) Stewing Beef
- 250g Small (6 ping pong ball sized) Onions
- 150g (~1 Cup) Carrots
- 75 g (6-8 whole) Pitted Prunes
- 1 Orange
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- ½ Tsp Dried Thyme
- ½ Tsp Dried Rosemary
- ½ Tsp Dried Marjoram
- ½ Tsp Dried Savory
- ½ Tsp Salt
- ¼ Tsp Pepper
- 250ml (~1 Cup) Beef Stock
- 375ml (½ Standard Bottle) Red Wine
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- Peel, top, and tail the onions.
- Peel and cut the carrot into 1.5cm (½") thick coins.
- Cut the beef into 2-2.5cm (¾") chunks and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix together the flour, dried herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Add half of the oil to a 30cm or 12" frying pan (not nonstick if possible) over a medium heat and fry the carrots and whole onions until they start to get a bit of colour then transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the beef until coloured on all sides over a medium-high heat.
- When browned add the beef to the slow cooker.
- Sprinkle over the flour mixture and stir thoroughly to coat.
- Turn the heat under the pan to high and deglaze it with the red wine and then pour it over the beef.
- Mix the beef stock with the tomato paste and red wine vinegar and pour it into the slow cooker.
- Peel the zest from the orange with a vegetable peeler and add it to the slow cooker.
- Bash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife then add them to the slow cooker.
- Finally, throw in the prunes and bay leaf and stir well.
- Have a taste of the sauce and add more salt if required.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- Remove the solids from the crockpot and pick out the beef, prunes, onions, and carrots and set aside, then discard the remaining solids.
- Heat a frying pan over a high heat and pass the cooking juices through a fine-mesh sieve and reduce by 10-15%.
- Return the beef and vegetables to the sauce bring them back to temperature and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 696Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 923mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 10gSugar: 32gProtein: 20g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.