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swirl and savor

Delectable Daube

Beth Ribblett

"A Sunday Morning Breakfast". Photo of interior of Madame Begue's Restaurant, 1894

In a New York Times article dated December 29, 1907, readers learned the secrets behind making Daube d’Italienne according to a recipe from the restaurant made famous by Madame Begué in New Orleans. The restaurant’s namesake had died the previous year and operations were taken over by her daughter and son-in-law, the Anouilles.

“Lard a nice piece of beef,” the recipe stated, “about three inches thick with strips of fat ham and pieces of mashed garlic.” Louisiana colonial cooks routinely used hog lard and bear fat for their flour-based thickening agent (or roux). Then “brown the meat thoroughly on both sides,” adding both “carrots and onions, and enough water to cover the whole.” The suggested seasonings were “salt, pepper, cloves, bay leaf and parsley.” After putting this over the fire early “in the morning” and cooking “slowly without interruption at least eight hours” (and with a few other steps), one was to serve the meat that evening over macaroni along with “a good sprinkling of grated Italian cheese”. (click here for a PDF scan of the original NYT article)

From its humble beginnings, the New Orleans Beef Daube is a wonderful example of how French and Italian cooking merge in this food mecca, be it in restaurants or at home. In its classic French form, daube (pronounced dohb) is a beef roast that is larded or stuffed with salt pork slivers and cooked in broth and wine until tender. But the simple, home-style version that developed over the years adds a Sicilian twist that can be as simple as a beef roast cooked in red gravy until falling apart and served with spaghetti.

So here is the classic New Orleans Creole Daube recipe that Dale Curry and New Orleans Magazine put out in an article in 2005 on "Saving the Daube". Don’t be off put by the long slow-cooking process. The dish can simmer on the stove with little attention while you catch up on rest and relaxation.

Creole Daube
  • 3-pound rump roast
  • 5 cloves garlic, 2 slivered and 3 minced
  • Salt, Pepper, Creole seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 14-ounce can beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

With a sharp knife or ice pick, punch holes in the roast about 2 inches apart and stuff with slivers of garlic. Rub roast generously with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Heat oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven and brown roast well on all sides over medium-high heat. When browned, take roast out of pot and set aside.

In the same oil, sauté onion, bell pepper and celery over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it almost begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add wine, beef broth, Italian seasoning, cayenne, salt if needed and sugar and stir well.

Return roast to pot, fat side up, turn fire to low, cover and simmer for 4 hours or until roast is very tender. Stir well every hour and turn roast over halfway through cooking. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with spaghetti. Serves 6.

Pair with the Farnese Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, this weeks wine of the moment!

Recipe and photo from, New Orleans Magazine February 2005, "Saving the Daube".