08 March 2007

Daube provençal

For years I thought daube meant dove, and every time I saw a reference to it in a book I figured they were referencing different preparations for doves. Why did I think this? Well, Taube is the German word for dove, and the name for one of the most elegant aircraft built during WWI. Granted, French is a Romance language and German is not, but I figured it probably transferred via Alsace. Taube-->Daube-->Dove, right?

This is a case where too much information is a bad thing.

No, daube is just the French word for stew, and the dish that James Beard's mother made for him every time he got upset as a child. In this case, I've made daube provençal from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook. It's a simple lamb stew with some vegetables and herbs, but the end result is wonderful. I skipped the turned potatoes and instead went with one fingerling potato per bowl. The lamb shoulder, which had a lot of bones, made the broth doubly tasty. And the aroma that slipped throughout the entire house was an added treat.

The wine was recommended to me by the friendly owner of Great Wines and a distributor I know and trust who happened to be in the shop that day. (Thanks Gary and Mike!) If I haven't said it enough here, don't be afraid to go into your local wine shop and ask for suggestions. Developing these relationships will broaden your palate over the long term, and you'll get to enjoy some hidden gems that aren't well known or highly publicized. Even if you don't know that much about wine, talk about what you like and what food you'll be fixing, and a good wine shop owner or employee should be able to help you out.

Even though I know both of them and have tried a lot of wines that were lying around, I asked for their suggestion for something new and interesting. They picked out the 2004 Sangiò di Luiano, an Italian IGT (or Super Tuscan) wine made from 60% Merlot and 40% Sangiovese, which runs for $20. Bright cherry flavors, hints of red apple with a pleasant spice note on the finish. Light beginning, firm tannins later. Considering the mixed French-Italian nature of the wine, I feel a provençal recipe was a perfect match.

1 comment:

Big Mike said...

Ben,

It was great to see you, and I would imagine the wine was a good match. Keep it coming my friend I really enjoy your writing. Thanks for the plug about your wine store staff. There are some very knowledgeable people working in Memphis, and they are rarely recognized! Good Job as always.