Saint Bernadette is unusual in that she has two feast days. The first is today, February 18th. This is the day her Lady promised to make her happy, not in this life, but in the next. This is the day recognized in France to be her feast day. The second is April 16th. It was the day she died, the day the Catholic Church tells us she went to heaven. Saint Bernadette was only 35 years old.
While I will celebrate her Feast Day in April, this day is just as important. Saint Bernadette suffered most of her life, and eventually died of Tuberculosis. The waters of Lourdes are said to have healing properties. When asked why she did not take from the waters, she said it was not meant for her but others. She had faith in the promise of happiness for her in the next life. I believe accepting that promise did bring comfort and contentment in this life.
Saint Bernadette was a simple women of simple means. To honor her this day, I’ve prepared a simple stew. French Stews are among my favorites. I love the depth of the wine, and the creaminess of the potatoes.
If Saint Bernadette isn’t reason enough for this wonderful meal, then consider this – today is National Drink Wine Day. We’re cooking with wine, we’re dining with wine – this dish as it all. Have a wonderful evening!
Beef Daube Provencal over Mashed Potatoes
2 lb Beef Chuck Roast
3 medium Carrots
1 Yellow Onion
12 Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground Black Pepper, divided
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 cup dry Red Wine
1 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup Beef Stock
1 Bay Leaf
Trim roast, cut into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Peel carrots, chop into uniform chunks, set aside. Peel onion, dice and set aside. Peel and crush the garlic, set aside. Strip the needles from the Rosemary spring. Finely dice and set aside. Strip the leaves from the Thyme sprig, set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle meat with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; brown meat in batches. Transfer beef to 4-qt. slow cooker.
Add carrot, onions, garlic and remaining salt and pepper to skillet; cook and stir until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan; bring to a boil. Season with Herbes de Provence. Stir to blend.
Transfer mixture to the slow cooker. Add tomatoes, and stock Lay bay leaf on top, cook, covered, on low until tender, 6 to 7 hours.
The Mashed Potatoes
6 large Russet Potatoes
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Butter
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
About 30 minutes prior to serving, peel potatoes, cut into cubes and place in a stainless steel pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes well, return to pan and dry potatoes over low heat. Melt butter with heavy cream in a small pan. Pour over potatoes, season with salt and pepper. Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To Serve: Ladle potatoes into a serving bowl. Remove bay leaf from the stew. Top mashed potatoes with Beef Daube Provencal. Garnish with additional thyme leaves, if desired.
Note: If desired, Beef Daube Provencal and Mashed Potatoes can be served separately. When ready to enjoy, place some mashed potatoes into individual bowls, top with beef and enjoy.
To make the meal perfect and complete, serve with some warm French Bread, a crisp salad and some delicious Red Wine.