Beef, Orange and Olive Stew (Boeuf à la Gardiane)
Start to finish: 41⁄2 hours (1 hour active) | Servings: 6 to 8
This hearty stew from Camargue, in the south of France, is traditionally made with taureau, or bull meat, but beef is a common substitute. We use chuck roast, a fatty cut that becomes tender and succulent with simmering. The stew gets robust flavor from classic Provençal ingredients—red wine, olives, anchovies and garlic. Orange is traditional, too; it lends the braise a brightness that balances its depth and richness. A bold, full-bodied dry red wine such as Côtes du Rhône or syrah is ideal, as it holds its own among the other big flavors. Serve with rice, egg noodles or potatoes.
Don’t forget to zest the orange before juicing it—it’s much easier to grate the zest from a whole orange than from one that’s been halved and squeezed. Don’t add all of the carrots to the pot with the beef. Adding some at the beginning gives the stew a subtle sweetness, but after hours of braising, these carrots are spent. We add more carrots near the end of cooking so that they are tender but still flavorful.
- 6 to 7 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch rounds, divided
- 3 anchovy fillets, patted dry
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed, patted dry and chopped, divided
- 2 1⁄2 cups dry red wine
- 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 1⁄3 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven, toss the beef with 2 tablespoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Add 1⁄2 the carrots, the anchovies, oil, garlic and onion, then toss. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in 1⁄2 cup of the olives. Return to the oven uncovered and cook until a knife inserted into a piece of beef meets no resistance, 1 to 11⁄2 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a large bowl, leaving the vegetables in the pot. Set a fine mesh strainer over a fat separator or medium bowl. Pour the meat juices into the strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. You should have about 21⁄2 cups liquid; if needed, add with water.
Pour the wine into the now-empty pot and bring to a boil over medium- high, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wine is reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, if you strained the meat juices into a bowl, use a spoon to skim off and discard the fat from the surface.
Pour the defatted meat juices into the pot and add the remaining carrots and the bell pepper. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the orange juice and beef. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to cling to the meat, 3 to 6 minutes.
Off heat, stir in the remaining 1⁄2 cup olives, the orange zest, vinegar and half of the parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
Chocolate Meringue Cookies
Start to finish: 70 minutes (40 minutes active) | Makes 24 cookies
These rich, yet airy flourless chocolate cookies have crisp edges and chewy interiors. They rely on whipped egg whites for their structure. To ensure your whites attain the proper volume with beating, make sure the mixer bowl, whisk and the whisk attachment are perfectly clean and without any trace of grease or fat. Either Dutch- processed or natural cocoa works well in this recipe. Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days; the edges will lose their crispness but the cookies will still taste good.
Don’t omit the step of heating the egg whites and sugar over the saucepan of simmering water. This ensures the sugar fully dissolves so the cookies bake up with shiny, crisp exteriors. But also make sure you don’t overheat the mixture (100°F is the ideal temperature), which can cause the whites to cook. Also, the melted chocolate mixture should still be warm when you fold in the whipped egg whites. If it has cooled and thickened, it will be impossible to fold in the whites without deflating them. If needed, before folding in the whites, return the bowl of chocolate to the saucepan and re-melt the mixture.
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
- 4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 20 grams (1⁄4 cup) cocoa powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3 large egg whites
- 145 grams (2⁄3 cup) packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the oven to 350°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment. Measure out 21⁄2 ounces (1⁄2 cup) of the chopped chocolate and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over high, bring 1 inch of water to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 51⁄2 ounces chopped chocolate, the butter, cocoa and espresso powder. Set the bowl on the saucepan over the simmering water (the bottom of bowl should not touch the water) and let the mixture melt until completely smooth, stirring often with a silicone spatula. Set aside to cool slightly; keep the saucepan and water over the heat.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt. Set the bowl on the saucepan over the simmering water and, while whisking constantly, heat the mixture to 100°F. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high until the mixture holds soft peaks when the whisk is lifted, 3 to 4 minutes.
Using a silicone spatula, fold 1⁄3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until almost completely combined. Add the remaining egg whites and fold until a few streaks of white remain. Add the reserved chopped chocolate and fold gently until no white streaks remain.
Drop the batter in 2-tablespoon mounds spaced 11⁄2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Bake until the tops have cracked but the interiors still looks moist, 12 to 14 minutes, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Lentil Salad with Gorgonzola
Start to Finish: 1 hour 10 minutes | Servings: 6
Simmering the cooking liquid with vegetables and aromatics before adding the lentils infused the dish with plenty of flavor and kept the lentils from turning mushy. A whole head of garlic, cooked with the lentils, flavors and thickens the dressing. Pungent Gorgonzola cheese gave the salad sharp contrast, while toasted walnuts added crunch.
Don’t use brown lentils here. They are larger and have a different cooking time than peppery green lentils. Green lentils are also sold as lentils du Puy.
- 1⁄2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 medium shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 garlic head
- 6 cups water
- 2 medium carrots, halved crosswise
- 1 celery rib, halved crosswise
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1⁄2 cups (10 ounces) French green lentils, sorted and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 3⁄4 cup)
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1⁄2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the vinegar, shallots and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside. Meanwhile, cut off and discard the top third of the garlic head, leaving the head intact. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high, combine the garlic, water, carrots, celery, mustard seeds, thyme, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the carrot, celery, bay and thyme.
Return the pot to medium-high and stir in the lentils. Return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the garlic and set aside. Drain the lentils, reserving the liquid, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the vinegar-shallot mixture and let cool to room temperature.
Squeeze the pulp from the garlic into a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in 1⁄4 cup of the reserved cooking water, the oil and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Stir the garlic mixture, half of the cheese, the parsley and half the walnuts into the lentils. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and top with the remaining cheese and walnuts.
PHOTO CREDIT: CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES