Indulge in this Beef Provencal – a budget-friendly meal. Root veggies, aromatic spices, and slow braising create comfort in every bite!
Who else loves indulging in a hearty stew during the wintertime? Beef Provencal is the classic French stew for those days when you’re craving a warm and satisfying dish: tender braised beef and succulent root vegetables in a rich wine sauce.
And it’s also a perfect make-ahead dish. The flavors intensify after the wine and spices have time to mingle with the meat overnight.
I adapted this version of beef provencal from a recipe I found on my local grass fed meat provider’s website. They had used a combination of beef short ribs and cross-cut beef shank. I found this to be an absolutely delectable choice of meat for this dish.
What is beef provencal (daube)?
Beef Provencal or Beef Daube (pronounced dōb) can be made with all different kinds of vegetables. Some like to throw in olives and mushrooms. In this recipe, we flavor the gravy with sautéed tomatoes, garlic, and a medley of spices. Then to the stew, I added winter root vegetables: potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, and carrots.
Since these root vegetables grow underground, they absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil. Just what we need during these long winter months.
The rutabagas, turnips, and potatoes are subtle in flavor, soaking up the richness of the sauce, while the carrots add a touch of sweetness. And don’t you love the colors they bring to this dish?
What’s the difference between Beef Bourguignon and Beef Provencal?
While both are French stews, Beef Bourguignon is from Burgundy in east-central France featuring a full-bodied wine like Burgundy wine and typically flavored with carrots, onions, garlic, and bacon. Beef Provencal, from Provence, uses a blend of Mediterranean herbs and spices typically found on the hillsides and in the fields of Provence, in southern France. It often includes tomatoes.
I made this dish ahead of time on Saturday so my family could enjoy it for Sunday dinner. It’s a very easy dish to prepare as most of the time it’s just left to simmer on the stove, warming the house and filling the kitchen with the most delicious aroma.
Here’s what you’ll need.
Beef short ribs and cross-cut beef shank: The recipe is designed for inexpensive cuts of meat. You can experiment with other cuts. Just adjust cooking times accordingly to ensure tenderness.
Oil for searing the meat and sautéing the onions and tomatoes. I recommend avocado oil, but you can use extra-virgin olive oil or any oil you prefer. Just be sure to heat your oil without allowing it to smoke.
Vegetables: Initially, Roma tomatoes and onions are simmered with your wine and fresh garlic. Later you will add these root vegetables: carrots, turnip, rutabaga, and potatoes. Feel free to customize with your favorite root vegetables or based on what’s in season for a personal touch.
Herbs and spices: Oregano, bay leaf, basil, paprika, rosemary, pepper, sea salt, and fresh parsley.
Red Wine helps to tenderize the meat. This does not need to be an expensive red wine; a fresh fruity wine provides a sweet contrast to the savory and earthy flavors overall.
Beef broth or stock to create a flavorful base that ties together the various spices and ingredients in the recipe.
*Free printable recipe card is available at the end of the post.
First, sear the beef in a skillet and transfer it to a dutch oven. Then add wine to the skillet; scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits. Add garlic and simmer a little. Then pour the wine mixture over the beef in the dutch oven.
Then add some beef stock and start to simmer the beef. Next add the spices (oregano, basil, paprika, and rosemary), a touch of salt, and a bay leaf.
Meanwhile, simmer chopped onions and tomatoes in the same skillet where you had simmered the wine with the garlic. When these are soft, add them to the dutch oven too. Finally, leave the meat to simmer and absorb all of those flavors for about two hours.
After those two hours, the beef starts to literally fall off the bone. Yes, it’s that tender and juicy. Carefully, remove the bones along with any beef still partially on them. Then scoop out the rest of the meat from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon onto a cutting board and shred all the meat lightly with two forks. It almost looks like pulled pork. This meat can then be added back into the sauce.
Now, for the root vegetables. Peel and chop up the rutabaga, turnip and carrots. These are also added to the Dutch oven and continue to simmer for another two hours. At the very end, add peeled and cubed potatoes and simmer for forty-five minutes more.
It’s best to add potatoes in the final 45 minutes to prevent them from overcooking. This ensures a perfect balance of textures in the finished dish.
You can serve right away or, if you’re saving it for the next day, just keep the stew in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat, all you have to do is heat it slowly on the stove until it’s simmering, stirring occasionally for about twenty minutes. I recommend garnishing with fresh chopped parsley.
Serving suggestions for Beef Provencal
Pair this robust stew, laden with hearty vegetables and potatoes, with a refreshing mixed green salad to counterbalance its richness. Accompany it with crusty gluten free garlic bread or Socca French flatbread to soak up the flavorful gravy.
Pro tips and recipe notes
1. Can I substitute herbs de Provence for the individual spices listed in the recipe? Absolutely! Herbs de Provence can be a convenient substitute, offering a blend of flavors that complement the dish. Adjust the quantity to your taste.
2. Can I make this Beef Provencal in a slow cooker? Yes, but while a slow cooker is convenient, start the dish in a skillet for that crucial searing. Transfer to the slow cooker after you’ve seared the meat, and made your tomatoes and onion sauce, to retain the rich flavors. Also add your vegetables and potatoes according to the intervals specified in the recipe.
3. Can I use white wine instead of red in this recipe? Absolutely. Opt for a dry French white wine like Sauvignon Blanc for a delightful twist on this red wine version.
4. What type of pot should I use for this Beef Provencal recipe? Traditionally, a “daubiere” (a clay pot made in Provence) is used, but a Dutch oven works just as well. Use whatever you have on hand for a delicious result.
5. Can I make this recipe ahead of time and reheat it? Yes, Beef Provencal reheats wonderfully. In fact, the flavors often deepen and develop further when reheated.
6. Can I freeze leftovers? Absolutely! Beef Provencal freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm gently on the stove or in the oven.
Recently, I immersed myself in Peter Mayle’s memoir “A Year In Provence”. The vivid descriptions of rustic kitchens and well-seasoned stews echo in my mind as I prepare Beef Provencal. May this recipe not only fill your home with enticing aromas but also evoke the warmth of cherished moments shared around the table.
More favorite family meals
Poached Low Carb Meatballs – These will probably be the fastest and easiest meatballs you’ll ever make.
Gluten Free Beef Bourguignon – Inspired by Julia Child’s Boeuf A La Bourguignon, this recipe is easy enough to make. Most of the time it’s bubbling in the oven filling the whole house with its wonderful aroma.
Gluten Free Turkey Picadillo – This 30-minute recipe is a fragrant stew of ground turkey simmered in tomato sauce with raisins added for sweetness and olives for saltiness. It’s an easy comfort dish, in Cuban style.
Beef Provencal With Root Vegetables
- 2 pounds beef short ribs
- 2 pounds beef shank cross cut
- sea salt and pepper to season meat before cooking
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil divided
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 quart beef stock homemade or store bought
- 4 Roma tomatoes diced with juice reserved
- 1 onion diced
- 4 small carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 turnip peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 rutabaga peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
- 6 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika I like smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- fresh parsley chopped
- Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet. Sear beef for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a dutch oven.2 pounds beef short ribs, 2 pounds beef shank cross cut, sea salt and pepper to season meat before cooking
- Add wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic and simmer for 4 minutes. Then pour over the beef in the dutch oven.1 1/2 cups red wine, 6 cloves of garlic
- Pour beef stock over the meat, as well. Bring to a boil, cover and turn flame down to simmer.1 quart beef stock
- Meanwhile, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Sauté the chopped onions until browned. Add diced tomatoes with the juice, bring to a boil and then simmer about 30 minutes. The tomatoes will break down as they simmer. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes with a fork. Then add the tomato mixture to the beef in the dutch oven.1 onion, 4 Roma tomatoes
- Add oregano, basil, paprika, rosemary, two teaspoons of salt and bay leaf. Stir occasionally, until beef starts to fall of the bone, about 2 hours.1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 bay leaf
- Carefully remove the bones and any beef still partially on the bones, Scoop out the rest of the meat from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon onto a cutting board. Break beef apart shredding lightly with two forks and then add back to the gravy.
- Peel and cut up turnip, rutabaga and carrots and place into the the dutch oven and continue to simmer for 2 more hours.1 turnip, 1 rutabaga, 4 small carrots
- Then add the peeled and cubed potatoes. Adjust the seasonings. Simmer for 45 minutes more.2 medium potatoes
- Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley.fresh parsley
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